The Crown Season 5: will there be a fifth series, who's in the cast with Elizabeth Debicki, and when will it be released?
Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret, as Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce and Dominic West join the cast
As Season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown comes to a close, bringing the curtain down on yet another nail-biting period of modern Royal history, fans will already be looking ahead to what the next instalment has in store.
New cast members and – perhaps most importantly – new scandalous events for the show to take a dramatic swipe at are in the pipeline, and viewers will no doubt be eager to hear more.
Here is everything you need to know.
What will happen in Season 5?
It is thought that Season 5 of The Crown will take place between the years of 1992 and 2002, a period of time that the Queen described as her “annus horribilis”.
During that time, her sons Princes Charles and Andrew both split from their wives, Princess Diana tragically died (with the Queen drawing public ire over her delayed response), and the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret died within weeks of each other in 2002.
Who will be in it?
To reflect its ageing subjects, The Crown regularly recruits older actors to portray its main characters; Olivia Colman – who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in Season 4 – will be replaced by Imelda Staunton for Season 5.
At one point, Jim Broadbent was favourite to take over as Prince Phillip, but it's since been confirmed that Oscar-nominated actor Jonathan Pryce will follow in the footsteps of Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies.
It's also been announced that Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret, taking over from Helena Bonham Carter.
And Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki – known for her roles in films like The Great Gatsby and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – will portray Diana, Princess of Wales in the upcoming fifth season. Princess Diana made her first onscreen appearance in Season 4, but was played by British actress, Emma Corrin.
In a statement released at the time of the casting announcement, Debicki said: "Princess Diana's spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many. It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one."
When will Season 5 of The Crown be released?
There’s no word yet on when we might see Season 5 of The Crown released on Netflix, but early 2022 could be a safe bet.
In recent years, it’s appeared as if the popular series had begun to take on an annual release schedule, and three of the previous four seasons have released in November, with one launching in December.
But with the delays to filming Season 5 that will no doubt be caused by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the show could break from that pattern; could March 2022 be the month we season the next series?
Indeed, the average number of days between new seasons of The Crown is 491, which takes us to 21st March 2022 – Seasons 3 and 4 both released on a Sunday, and the nearest Sunday to that date is Sunday 20th March 2022.
Could this be when we see the next season of The Crown?
Will there be a Season 6?
The Crown was originally due to run for six seasons, but series creator Peter Morgan has said Season 5 would be "the perfect time and place to stop."
Quite handy then; that that means The Crown is unlikely to broach Prince Andrew's humiliation following revelations of his scandalous relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.