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'The Crown' Season 5 — release date, plot, cast, trailer and everything you need to know

The Crown season 5
Imelda Staunton will be replacing Olivia Colman as The Queen for Season 5. (Image credit: Getty)

The Crown Season 5 will see Netflix's royal saga move into the 1990s, a period that includes plenty more real-life drama to inspire the show's writer Peter Morgan. 

Olivia Colman will be replaced by Imelda Staunton in the lead role and the rest of the cast will also be renewed as the show begins its final incarnation. 

Fans were shocked when Netflix confirmed The Crown Season 5 would be the show's final outing back in 2020, but luckily that decision was reversed and we'll be getting two more helpings of the royal romp over the next couple of years. 

“As we started to discuss the storylines for series five, 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,” said Morgan in a statement from Netflix.

But anyone expecting recent real-life episodes, such as Prince Harry's decision to move to America with his wife Meghan, are set to be disappointed: “To be clear, series six will not bring us any closer to present-day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail," he added. 

The Crown Season 5 release date

The Crown Season 5 is due to begin filming in July 2021 at North London's Elstree Studios, which means new episodes won't be aired until 2022. As with the previous seasons, it's expected to be 10 episodes. 

Yet reports suggest filming on the sixth — and final — series even could begin before the fifth series has been released, meaning there would not be such a long wait before we discover how the story ends. 

The Crown Season 5 cast

Imelda Staunton will play the Queen

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After Claire Foy and then Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) will take on The Crown's leading role in the fifth season and said that as a fan of the show, she was delighted to accept the part. 

Staunton revealed that she admired her predecessor's work, but believed playing a more recent version of the monarch would come with challenges. 

“I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I’m now doing the Queen that we’re a little more familiar with,” she said. “With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I’m playing one that people could say ‘she doesn’t do that,’ ‘she’s not like that,’ and that’s my personal bête noire.”

Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret

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Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter won rave reviews for their portrayal of the Queen's sister in Seasons 1-4 and now Oscar-nominated star Lesley Manville (The Phantom Thread) will take on the role. 

“There was never any doubt that I would say 'yes,” reveals Manville. “When they said ‘Margaret,’ I hadn’t really thought about it. Then I thought, ‘yes Margaret!’ That’s fabulous because she was so avant-garde. So naughty, delightful, and funny. What a wonderful woman to play.”

Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip

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Jonathan Pryce takes up the baton after Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies wowed fans with their performances as the late Duke of Edinburgh. Pryce previously starred in another of Netflix's hit historical vehicles The Two Popes, alongside Anthony Hopkins.

Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana

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The Australian star — who viewers might remember from The Night Manager — will be taking over from Emma Corrin, who stole the show with a breakout performance as Diana Spencer in the fourth series, yet producers have hinted that Corrin could return in flashback scenes.  

The fourth series was dominated by Diana's crumbling marriage to Charles and the Princess is likely to be the center of the drama in the forthcoming fifth series, with her infamous 1995 interview with Martin Bashir set to be recreated. 

The iconic chat, in which Diana famously said "there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," has seen new controversy recently, with an investigation into how the interview was arranged. 

Dominic West will play Prince Charles

Dominic West on the red carpet in 2018

Dominic West will take on the role of Prince Charles in Season 5 of The Crown.  (Image credit: Getty)

The British star of The Wire will take over from Josh O'Connor, who starred in series three and four, as heir to the throne. 

Olivia Williams will play Camilla Parker Bowles

The star of The Nevers will be replacing Emereld Fennell as Prince Charles's girlfriend. 

Jonny Lee Miller will play John Major

The Trainspotting star will take on the role of John Major, who was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1990 until 1997. He won a general election in 1992, but his Conservative government attracted criticism for its role in "Black Wednesday" when a collapse in the pound sterling forced Britain to withdraw from the European exchange rate mechanism. The incident could well be featured in the fifth series.

The Crown Season 5 plot

No plot details have been released for next year's series, but with the final episode of Season 4 covering the downfall of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, it seems certain to start with John Major in Downing Street. 

With the show rumored to be wrapping up in the mid-noughties, Season 5 is expected to cover the early 1990s, although where it will finish is unclear. Nevertheless, there's plenty of real-life drama for Peter Morgan to get his teeth into, not least in 1992, which The Queen famously called her "annus horribilis". 

The Crown series 5

Windsor Castle caught fire in November 1992. (Image credit: Alamy)

It was a year in which Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson announced they were separating, Princess Anne announced her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles revealed he and Diana would be separating, Windsor Castle caught fire causing millions of pounds of damage and Prime Minister John Major announced the Queen was to be taxed from 1993 onwards.

Diana's 1995 interview with Martin Bashir is expected to feature and incidents such as the election of Tony Blair and Princess Diana's death sure to be referenced, if the series goes up to 1997.

Other moments of note include Princess Anne marrying Timothy Lawrence in 1992, Britain celebrating the 40th anniversary of VE Day, and the Queen mother becoming the oldest patient to undergo hip replacement surgery at the age of 95, both in 1995.

The Crown Season 5 trailer

There is no trailer yet, but we'll be sure to post it here when it arrives.