Dominic West in Talks to Play Prince Charles in ‘The Crown’ Season 5

Warning: Contains minor spoilers for seasons 4 and 5 of The Crown.

As royal enthusiasts await season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown, intel on the fifth season has begun to emerge. From the Oscar-nominated actors assuming the roles of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and Prince Philip to the casting of the new Princess Diana and Prince Charles, there’s plenty to anticipate. Below, everything we know about season 5 of The Crown, including how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal exit will impact it, and why it won’t premiere until 2022.

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The fifth season of The Crown will no longer be its last.

Back in November 2016, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos confirmed that Morgan’s initial pitch for the show outlined six seasons. “The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter.

But in late January 2020, Deadline reported that the show’s fifth season would be its last. “At the outset I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season 5 it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop,” Morgan said in a statement. “I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision.”

Sophie Mutevelian / Netflix

However, this changed again in July. Morgan confirmed, via Deadline, that the show would return for a sixth season. “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,” Morgan stated. “To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”

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This means The Crown will skip over major content opportunities for the show. Earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sent ripples through the monarchy when they announced they would step down from their senior royal roles. Last November, Prince Andrew was forced to walk away from his own royal duties after questions about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein arose.

Imelda Staunton will play Queen Elizabeth II.

A scrapped sixth season originally meant Oscar nominee Imelda Stauntion would have only one installment to make an impact. But now she’ll get two seasons, as was the case with the queens before her. Rumors of Staunton’s casting made waves in November 2019, shortly after the third season premiered. Deadline confirmed the news in late January.

Dominic West in Talks to Play Prince Charles in 'The Crown' Season 5

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“I’m absolutely thrilled to confirm Imelda Staunton as Her Majesty the The Queen for the fifth and final season, taking The Crown into the 21st century,” creator and showrunner Peter Morgan said in a statement. “Imelda is an astonishing talent and will be a fantastic successor to Claire Foy and Olivia Colman.”

Netflix also tweeted a statement from Staunton about her casting: “I have loved watching The Crown from the very start. 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 honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”

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Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret.

Netflix announced in July that Oscar-nominated Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Maleficent) will take on the role previously played by Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Kirby. “I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret,” the actress said in a statement, shared to the show’s official Twitter. “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.”

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In her first interview since nabbing the role of Princess Margaret, Manville says she finds it “thrilling” to take on a role previously played by two other actresses. “I think, come on Manville, you’ve got to take that baton, and not let those two actresses think, ‘Oh we were great, shame about Manville.’” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” she told Deadline.

Asked whether she considered not accepting the high-stakes role, Manville said there was never a question. “There was never any doubt that I would say yes,” she recalled. “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.” When pressed about other performers joining the project, Manville kept tight-lipped. “Not a single name has been dangled like a carrot to make me even more excited,” she told the outlet.

Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip.

Deadline reported on August 12 that Jonathan Pryce, the Oscar-nominated actor behind The Two Popes and The Wife, will play Prince Philip for seasons 5 and 6. He takes over the role from Tobias Menzies (seasons 3 and 4) and Matt Smith (seasons 1 and 2).

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“I am delighted to be working with Netflix again,” Pryce said in a statement, referring to his role in The Two Popes, adding, “The positive experience I had making The Two Popes has given me the confidence to tackle the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip. To be doing so with Peter Morgan in the company of Imelda and Lesley will be a joy.”

Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana.

Season 5 of The Crown will also welcome a new Princess Diana to the fold, following Emma Corrin’s one-season stint as the headline-making royal. Actress Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager, The Great Gatsby) will take on the role in seasons 5 and 6, as confirmed on Twitter. “Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many,” Debicki said in a statement, shared to The Crown‘s Twitter. “It is my true privilege and honor to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from Episode One.”

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Dominic West is in “final talks” to play Prince Charles.

The Wire and The Affair actor Dominic West is reportedly set to star in season 5 of The Crown, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The Brit would take over from Josh O’Connor, who played Prince Charles in seasons 3 and 4 of the series.

The news comes just days after West, who is married to Catherine FitzGerald, was photographed getting close with his The Pursuit of Love co-star Lily James in Rome.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry aren’t likely to be covered on The Crown.

In January, The Crown executive producer Suzanne Mackie told the BBC, “To be honest, whatever the life of The Crown is after where we are now, I doubt we’ll ever go as far into the present day. I think we’ll probably…we don’t travel into the present day.”

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Johannesburg - Day Two

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Morgan originally held this stance back in 2018. “I feel uncomfortable writing about events within a certain time period,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I think there’s a certain amount of time within which, if you write about it, what you do instantly becomes journalistic. Because it’s too close to the moment.”

He continued, “Let’s wait 20 years and see what there is to say about Meghan Markle. I don’t know what there is to say about Meghan Markle at the moment. I wouldn’t know and I wouldn’t presume. She’ll only become interesting once we’ve had 20 years to digest who she is and what her impact has been. If I were to write about Meghan Markle I would automatically be writing journalistically.”

The season 5 timeline has not been determined.

There isn’t word on what the fifth season of The Crown will cover. Insiders told Deadline in January that the fourth season will end around 1990, the year Thatcher was “ousted” from her Prime Minister position.

From there, it’s unknown just how modern the monarchy will get. Although, Deadline reports season six will end in the “early 2000s.” The series could choose to skip ahead to more recent events or follow a ’90s format without depicting, say, the college courtship between Prince William and Kate Middleton, or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

While we’re speculating about what The Crown could cover, keep in mind that many major events occurred within palace walls in the thirty-year timespan between 1990 and 2020. There have been six prime ministers: John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson. Three major divorces rocked the ’90s, including Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’ 1992 split and the 1996 breakups between Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. A year later, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. And in 2002, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Golden Jubilee after 50 years of ruling. Several of these events were depicted in the 2006 film The Queen, which was written by Morgan.

Cameos from former cast members are not out of the question.

No other cast members have been announced for season 5 of The Crown. Viewers know that the main characters are recast every two seasons for aging purposes. Seasons 3 and 4 saw Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth II), Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip), and Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) lead the royal ensemble, while the first two seasons followed Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and Vanessa Kirby in those roles.


Stuart Hendry / Netflix

A season 5 cast will also presumably include Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Princess Diana, and potentially Margaret Thatcher (who plays a large role in season 4 and will be played by Gillian Anderson). While the casting confirmations roll in, keep in mind that cameos from former cast members could occur. Foy was spotted filming for a potential flashback for the fourth season in November 2019.

Season 5 of The Crown won’t premiere until 2022.

No official release date for the fifth season has been announced, but according to a new Deadline report, the installment won’t premiere until 2022. Production on season 5 will begin next June and filming for the sixth and final season in 2022. Per Deadline, the pause in filming is not due to the coronavirus pandemic and was pre-planned. There were also two years between season 2 and season 3, as production prepped for the reign of Olivia Colman.

While we await season 5, Entertainment Tonight reported that season 4 finished filming on schedule, mere days into the pandemic.

This post will be updated.

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