The Series Finale of The Crown, Explained

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The Crown Series Finale, ExplainedNetflix
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Spoilers ahead for the finale of the Crown.

The Crown's creator Peter Morgan has said that watching Queen Elizabeth's funeral shifted his approach to the final season, and nowhere is that clearer than in the series finale (season six, episode ten).

Not only does the title, "Sleep, Dearie Sleep" take its name from the lament that her piper played at her funeral, but much of the plot focuses on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip planning their own funerals, and the final moments foreshadow her death.

a man and a woman in a room with art on the wall
Justin Downing/Netflix

In the last scene, Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) and Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce) discuss the future of the monarchy following Charles and Camilla's wedding, which took placeat St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. "You are one of a kind," he tells her. "By contrast, this lot..." he trails off, thinking about the rest of their family, before continuing, "The good thing is, it's not our problem. This is where we will be, you and I. Right under this stone. We'll never hear the screams from inside there." (He's referring to the fact that they would both be buried the King George VI Memorial Chapel, at St. George's Chapel.)

The Queen chuckles, and Philip continues, "The system makes no sense anymore to those outside it, nor to those of inside of it. All human things are subject to decay, and when fate summons, even monarchs must obey. We're a dying breed, you and I. Oh, I'm sure everyone will carry on, pretending all is well. But the party's over. The good news is, that while Rome burns and the temple falls, we will sleep, dearie, sleep."

He holds her hand, they speak briefly about their funeral plans, then Philip walks off and leaves her alone in the quire."Sleep, Dearie, Sleep" begins to play on bagpipes over the final moments, as the Queen walks by a vision of what is meant to be her coffin draped in the Royal Standard (on top is the Imperial State Crown, the sceptre and orb, and a bouquet of flowers).

crown finale
Netflix

As she takes in the coffin, she sees the 1945 version of herself (Viola Prettejohn), wearing her Auxiliary Transport Service uniform, salute. Then, as she walks out, behind her, the two younger versions of the Queen (Claire Foy and Olivia Colman) appear. Both wearing black, they flank Staunton's Queen Elizabeth. Then, Staunton's Queen Elizabeth walks out of the quire, into a more lightly lit nave, and the show comes to a close. It's a reflective and somber tone to end on, meant to indicate the death of the Queen.


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