We Just Got a Peek at Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in "The Crown"

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·5 min read
We Just Got a Peek at Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in "The Crown"
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Raise your cups of tea, because The Crown is coming back for a fifth season. For a while there, the British drama's fifth season was slated to be its last. Then, creator Peter Morgan changed his mind.

“As we started to discuss the storylines for Series 5, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons," he said, per Deadline. "To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”

The show's final two seasons will look different, because they'll have an entirely new cast. Elizabeth Debicki will be the show's final incarnation of Princess Diana, for example, and The Affair's Dominic West will portray Prince Charles, and Imelda Staunton will portray the Queen herself. Read on for everything else we know about the highly anticipated period drama.

When will season 5 of The Crown premiere?

Chances are, in the month of November—but we can't say in what year, due to widespread filming delays. Season 1 premiered in November of 2016 and season 2 in 2017, while season 3 took a little longer to return to us with a 2019 release date. Season 4 came out on November 4, 2020.

Filming for season 5 began in July 2021, per Variety. It's on the way—but whether it'll arrive in November 2021 or November 2022, we can't say.

We've gotten a first look at the season 5 cast.

While Claire Foy played royal matriarch Queen Elizabeth II in seasons 1 and 2, Olivia Colman took over in season 3 and reprised her role in the fourth. As for who's playing Her Majesty in The Crown's last season? The role will go to British actress Imelda Staunton. (You may recognize her as Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter films.)

"I have loved watching The Crown from the very start," Staunton told Deadline in a statement. "As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts. I am genuinely honored to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion."

And following in Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham-Carter's footsteps, Oscar-nominated U.K. actress Lesley Manville will play the ever-entertaining Princess Margaret. Manville, who you've seen in Phantom Thread and Maleficent, issued a statement in July saying, "I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret. The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses, and I really don’t want to let the side down. Furthermore to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy."

In August of 2020, we met our Prince Philip. Prolific actor Jonathan Pryce, perhaps most recognizable for playing the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones, took over for Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip. Recently, Pryce was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his work as Pope Francis in The Two Popes.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Dominic West, best known for his time in the riveting drama The Affair, will play Prince Charles. The followup stories will follow the dissolution of Charles's marriage with Diana, largely due to his ongoing extramarital relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Last but not least, Elizabeth Debicki will play Diana in the 1990s. Given the proposed timeline, seasons 5 and 6 of The Crown will follow Diana and Charles' divorce, and likely will depict her death in 1997. Debicki is known for her work in the thriller Widows and The Great Gatsby. At 6'3," Debicki is considerably taller than Diana, who stood at 5'10." Actually, she is the same height as Prince William.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

What years would the storyline cover in season 5?

While many The Crown fans were hoping to see the present-day royal drama portrayed on the small screen—you know, "Megxit," aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping down as senior royalsthat now seems extremely unlikely.

Each season of the show roughly covers a decade of royal history, and from context clues. Season 4 covered the late 1970s to early 1990s, zeroing in on Prince Charles' dramatic personal life...which is a nice way of saying he and Princess Diana's turbulent relationship took center stage. They officially met in 1980 and got married in 1981.

We're guessing The Crown season 5 would take us through the following decade, perhaps even into the early 2000s. This time period covers key royal events like Prince Charles and Princess Diana's divorce in 1996 and Princess Diana's death the following year. Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother both died in 2002. They have been major characters since The Crown season 1—particularly Margaret—so it wouldn't be surprising to see the show follow the two until their end.

While Prince William and Kate Middleton castings are probably not in our future, it sounds like the finale of The Crown is going to be worth the wait.

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