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Netflix's hit series The Crown is back for its fifth season. The show is based on the real lives of Britain's Royal family, and season five specifically hones in on the '90s. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 40 years on the throne and faced new challenges with the collapse of the Soviet Union while her son, Prince Charles, pressured her to let him divorce Princess Diana. The fifth season also shows us a glimpse of Diana's romantic relationships with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and businessman Dodi Al-Fayed following her separation from Charles. Tensions were also on the rise as Dodi's father, billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, tried to secure a seat at the royal table.
All of these events played out in real life, but how accurate is The Crown's cast to the actual Royals? Here are photos and everything we know about The Crown cast vs. the real-life people the show is based on.
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
You may recognize Imelda Staunton from movies like Freedom Writers and the Harry Potter franchise, but she takes on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the two final seasons of Netflix's The Crown. She took over the part after Olivia Colman portrayed the queen in seasons three and four of the hit series.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom ran the British throne for nearly 70 years before she passed away on September 8, 2022. The 96-year-old made history as the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee and was the longest-reigning monarch in British history as she had been the queen since 1952.
Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip
In season five of The Crown, Pirates of the Caribbean actor Jonathan Pryce plays Prince Philip. "[Phillip's] a highly educated, intelligent intellectual with great interests in the natural world and in the sciences. I think I wanted to present more of that side of him," Jonathan said of his role in an interview with Vanity Fair. "I also grew to like him and realized he had a sense of humor and a sense of fun."
In 1957, Philip officially became a prince after he left active military service when Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952. According to Reader's Digest, Philip was crowned prince when Elizabeth issued a letters patent. Under the law of the British Parliament, royal succession looks only to blood relations as opposed to gender, so he never became king. In 1947, Philip married Elizabeth and they went on to have four children together — Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. On April 9, 2021, Prince Philip died of natural causes two months before his 100th birthday.
Dominic West as Prince Charles (Now King Charles III)
Before playing the King on screen, Dominic West had met Charles on multiple occasions and even rented a cottage from him. According to Entertainment Weekly, Dominic is an ambassador for The Prince's Trust, a charity that King Charles III founded in 1976. West's wife Catherine Fitzgerald is also a landscape gardener who has worked with the King on different projects.
"My wife was involved in the garden at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast and the garden at Dumfries House in Scotland," Dominic told the outlet. "He always looked slightly disappointed when I wasn't there with my wife. So mainly we talk about her. And plants."
King Charles III
King Charles III was still Prince Charles in the '90s when The Crown season five takes place. During this time, he had to convince his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to let him divorce Princess Diana. Along with his separation from Diana, Charles also dealt with a scandal as a private conversation between himself and Camilla Parker Bowles, now Queen Consort was publicly leaked in the early '90s.
Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker-Bowles (Now Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom)
Olivia Williams plays Camilla in The Crown's fifth season, and she told The Times that the Netflix show's rendition of "Tampongate" — a.k.a the infamous leaked phone call between Camilla and Charles — is "the absolute best scene."
"I think the writing and the way this episode is structured is so brilliant. I would like to make it illegal for anyone to comment upon the inclusion of this conversation who doesn't actually watch the episode," she told the publication. "If you decide because your principles are so high that you're not going to watch the episode and then you choose to comment, your opinion is of no value. What this episode does is an extraordinary piece of film-making."
Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom
Before Charles married Diana, he dated Camilla. Amid his divorce from Diana, he rekindled his relationship with Camilla when they were both still married to their respected partners. In January 1993, an intimate phone call of theirs from 1989 was leaked to The Sunday Mirror. During the six-minute conversation, Charles told Camilla that he wanted to "live inside" her trousers and jokingly said that he could be a Tampax tampon. Since then, Camilla and Charles wed in 2005 and she became the Queen Consort of the United Kingdom when Queen Elizabeth II passed away in 2022.
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana
Princess Diana's biographer Andrew Morton — who interviewed the late princess before her death and serves as a consultant on the Netflix series — told Good Morning America that he was "left breathless" by Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki's performance in The Crown.
"It left me breathless, and it took me back all those years," Morton, who wrote the 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story, said. "I mean, I don't say this very often, but I was shaken."
In the '90s, Princess Diana was the ultimate style inspiration, mother to Prince William and Prince Harry, and wife to King Charles III. She quickly became a pop culture icon and highly sought-after public figure when she joined the royal family. She and Charles officially separated on December 9, 1992, and she went on to date heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and then businessman Dodi Al-Fayed before a car crash led to her tragic death in August 1997.
Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed
Palestinian actor Salim Daw portrays real-life billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed on season 5 of The Crown. He told The Telegraph that it was "the role of his life" and that he "loves [Mohamed] with all his heart."
"This man, he was so broken. To lose a son like that. No one had ever seen him like that. But he is also so strong," Salim told the outlet. "That's what is so special about this character: he wakes up and he continues his life. I love him with all my heart."
Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed was constantly seen with the Royals throughout the '90s. He owns the luxury department store Harrods, as well as the Ritz Hotel. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of $1.9 billion in 2022.
Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Al-Fayed
You may have seen Khalid Abdalla in projects like Assassin's Creed, but he takes on the role of Princess Diana's last boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed, on The Crown season 5. Khalid told Town & Country that playing Dodi was "a huge honor and a huge responsibility— both in relation to Dodi and what he means and also in relation to the wound that surrounds Diana and the love affair that they had in the weeks before they died."
Dodi Al-Fayed was the eldest son of Saudi Arabian author Samira Khashoggi and Egyptian billionaire Mohamed. Dodi produced movies like Chariots of Fire, Breaking Glass, and The Scarlet Letter, and went on to be engaged to Princess Diana before they tragically passed away in an August 1997 car crash.
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