The Crown season 6 sees the Netflix royal saga finally ending this year — and what a ride it's been.
The final season will begin in 1997 and feature the tragic death of Princess Diana in a Paris car crash, one of the most infamous events in royal history.
Talking about how the makers are tackling the difficult subject of Diana's death, executive producer Suzanne Mackie told The Hollywood Reporter: "Some of it is very painfully sad, because it deals with the death of Diana — over three episodes we follow what happens to Diana and the build-up to her death, the final days in Paris.
"It’s very sad, and it feels very real and vivid [and] I hope very respectful and beautiful. I think it will be a surprise for an audience, because in many ways, where we go after Diana, it’s very hard. We have found a really beautiful new chapter, which is via Prince William and Kate Middleton, and it feels like little flowers coming up out of the earth after Diana's death."
Creator of the Emmy-winning show Peter Morgan had planned to make just five series of the drama, yet changed his mind in 2020 after meeting with the team behind the show.
"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," he said in an official statement.
Here's everything we know so far...
The Crown season 6 release date speculation
Filming began on The Crown season 6 in the summer of 2022 and while the shoot was delayed for a few days by the death of Her Majesty the Queen in September, Netflix have confirmed the 10-part series will be on our screens in autumn 2023.
The Crown season 6 plot
We know the sixth season will reference the death of Princess Diana because photographers have spotted Elizabeth Debicki shooting the moments before her fatal crash in a Paris tunnel.
There had reportedly been an atmosphere of "anxiety behind the scenes" ahead of filming that moment, even though the crash itself is unlikely to be shown on screen.
"We've been dreading getting to this point," a member of production told Deadline. "The countdown is two weeks and while we're calmly carrying on it's fair to acknowledge that there's a certain anxiety; a palpable sense of being slightly on the edge. I mean, there's bombshell sensitivity surrounding this one."
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Morgan has also stated that he won't go beyond the early 2000s in the new series, meaning recent events such as Prince Andrew's fall from grace and Harry and Meghan's departure for the United States won't be shown.
Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton, which took place in 2011, is also expected to come too late to be featured in the sixth series.
With more criticism being leveled at the fifth series for historical accuracy than the previous four, it would seem a prudent decision from Morgan and Netflix not to stray too close to the present day.
Yet there are plenty of powerful topics for The Crown season 6 to explore however, not least the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, who both passed away in 2002.
How will The Crown end?
There are no details of how The Crown will finally sign off after seven years on our screens and Peter Morgan is famous for surprising viewers with his handling of the Windsor family's most famous moments.
However, some have suggested the Queen's Golden Jubilee of 2002, when she celebrated 50 years on the throne, would be a perfect ending to what Morgan has described as a 'love letter' to Her Majesty.
The Crown season 6 cast
Most of the cast from season 5 will be returning for season 6 and the following stars will be stepping back into the world of the Windsors...
• Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
• Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip
• Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret
• Jonny Lee Miller as John Major
• Dominic West as Charles, Prince of Wales
• Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales
• Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
• Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles
• Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne
• James Murray as Prince Andrew
• Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed
• Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair
Yet there will be some new arrivals, with two actors set to replace Senan West as Prince William, who goes from a teenager to a young adult in this final run. Rufus Kampa will play William as a 15 year-old and as the series unfolds he will be replaced by Ed McVey. Ed posted an image of the two stars on his Instagram account in September 2022...
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In an intriguing twist, Loose Women star Kelly Brook will also be cropping up in the sixth series, not as a cast member — but as a poster!
"I got an email from my agent. She said: 'We have had a picture clearance request for one of your images to be used on The Crown season six. It would be printed as a poster and it would be put in one of the character's dressing rooms,'" Brook told The Daily Star.
"That's definitely got to be a teenage boy's bedroom," Kelly added. "Could I be on the wall of Prince Harry or Prince William's bedroom at Buckingham Palace? Was I a pin-up for them back in the 90s? How old were they then? Well, this is incredible. Of course, I have said yes."
Who'll be playing Kate Middleton in The Crown season 6?
Ed McVey will be playing Prince William when he heads off for university, which is when he meets his future wife, Kate Middleton.
It's been revealed that newcomer Meg Bellamy will be playing Kate and we look forward to getting a glimpse of their first meeting at The University of St Andrews in Scotland.
We even got our first look at Meg, who'll star alongside Ed McVey as Prince William, when Netflix released first-look pictures of the couple on set recently.
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Check out the first look at Prince William and Kate Middleton in The Crown.
The Crown season 6 trailer
There's no trailer for this one yet, but we'll be sure to post it here as soon as the first teaser lands!
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Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.