The Crown season 5 ends on a poignant note for the Royal Family. After focusing on the events of the early '90s, Peter Morgan's Netflix drama concludes with joint storylines for The Queen, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles. And the final few moments seem to suggest there will be no time jump when The Crown season 6 arrives.
To help make sense of the ending, we’ve taken a deep dive into the major moments it lines up, as well as what questions remain unanswered. Several new characters were also introduced, as well as the return of some other key players. So to help you keep track of who’s who, we’ve got a comprehensive recap below.
However, as you might imagine, we’ll be getting into heavy spoiler territory from here onwards about The Crown season 5 ending. So if you’re still watching the Netflix show, make sure you bookmark this page for later.
The Crown season 5 ending explained *spoilers*
The final episode of The Crown season 5, 'Decommissioned', begins with Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) trying to convince his father Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw) to support him in buying a home in Malibu, Los Angeles. He wants to move in with his girlfriend Kelly Fisher (Erin Richards) and plans to bring her to London to meet him. Their actual meeting doesn’t go to plan, as Mohamed lectures Dodi on his future and is unimpressed with his plans to buy a home in Los Angeles.
The conversation sets up a later one between Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Al-Fayed after they attend the ballet. Diana confesses she’s been feeling very sad recently and plans to leave the country while Prince Charles (Dominic West) plans a big party with Camilla Parker Bowles (Olivia Williams). She was denied security clearance to take Prince Harry and Prince William to the US, but Al-Fayed suggests instead that they join them in St. Tropez.
Elsewhere, questions over the future of the monarchy are being brought into question thanks to a live television debate over whether it should still exist. Prince Charles is particularly troubled by the conclusions and brings it up at the Queen’s (Imelda Staunton) birthday. The celebration brings all of her family together, including Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville) and Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce), to discuss the issue.
When it is decided that Prince Charles will be the royal representative when Hong Kong leaves British rule, he sees another opportunity to speak to the new Prime Minister about his thoughts. Tony Blair (Bertie Carvel) has been elected in a landslide election, beating the existing John Major (John Major) who steps down in this episode. The Queen has an unsuccessful first meeting with him where he refuses to reverse the decision to decommission the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles has much more success when they have a meeting in Hong Kong. The Prince of Wales shares his hopes for modernizing the monarchy as well as his wish to be allowed to marry Camilla in the future. Blair seems to take it all very well, telling his wife Cherie Blair (Lydia Leonard) on the plane home how surprising and intelligent he found the future king to be.
News gets back to the Queen about Prince Charles’ meeting with the Prime Minister, leading them to have a very frank conversation. She accuses her son of continuing to conduct his affair with Camilla in the public eye, while Prince Charles argues he should be allowed to marry the woman he loves. She also chastises him for holding private meetings with Blair, as that’s her role as the Sovereign. The pair clash about the future of the monarchy, and where they stand on it.
The season ends with Princess Diana preparing for her holiday to St. Tropez as we get our first glimpse of Al-Fayed’s yacht while Dodi proposes to Fisher. In contrast, the Queen is shown walking through the halls of the Royal Yacht Britannia as she prepares to say goodbye to it. The final shots mirror the first episode which also largely took place on Britannia.
Why is Princess Diana’s St. Tropez holiday significant?
The Crown season 5 ends with Princess Diana preparing to take her sons Prince William and Prince Harry on a holiday to St. Tropez, organized by Al-Fayed. In the summer of 1997, Diana did take her children with her to his villa and it was here that she grew closer to Dodi. She stayed in the villa several times during the summer.
In late August of that year, Diana went on holiday with the Fayed family again as they went on a cruise on Dodi’s luxury yacht in the Mediterranean. They sailed from the South of France to Sardinia before flying to Paris.
The Princess of Wales and Dodi, and their chauffeur Henri Paul, were killed in a car crash after leaving the Ritz Hotel in Paris on August 31, 1997. This is likely to be one of the events The Crown covers in its upcoming sixth and final season.
What was the relationship between Tony Blair and the Royal Family?
The season finale shows new Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prince Charles having had a private meeting about reforming the monarchy. Blair has since denied this meeting ever took place, and his spokesman said in a statement to The Daily Telegraph: "It should come as no surprise that this is complete and utter rubbish."
The real relationship between the two men was unknown. Prince Charles did write memos to Prime Ministers during their time in office, including several to Blair. These were called the Black Spider memos and were released in 2015 under a Freedom of Information request. However, the Prince of Wales wrote these in a private capacity and they covered subjects like planning, global warming, and farming, rather than the future of the monarchy.
As for the Queen’s relationship with Blair, not much is known. The former Prime Minister has spoken about their first meeting in the past. "She was above it, above politics," he told Today host Savannah Guthrie, per People. "When I was appointed prime minister, I remember she said to me, her first words to me, 'My first prime minister was Winston [Churchill], and that was before you were born.' So she had this extraordinary grip on history."
What events will The Crown season 6 cover?
So far, Netflix has not confirmed any of the events that The Crown season 6 will cover. However, based on filming pictures, it’s clear the series will pick up in 1997 with Princess Diana’s final weeks. Debicki was pictured filming on a yacht with the actors who play Dodi and Al-Fayed in the show.
The series will also cover the first meeting between Prince William and Kate Middleton, as actors have been cast for both roles. This took place in 2001 when the Prince of Wales went to the University of St. Andrews. In their first on-screen roles, Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy will play the royals.
Elsewhere, several other events during this period are likely to be portrayed. The Queen’s Golden Jubilee took place in 2002 and she also lost both her sister, Princess Margaret, and mother, Queen Elizabeth, later that year.
Currently, it is unclear where the series will end, but it is not expected to continue into the modern day. Per The Sun, some reports suggest it may end with Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles’ wedding in 2005. However, we likely will not know what exact events will be covered until closer to the season 6 release date.
When is The Crown season 6 released on Netflix?
The final season of The Crown doesn’t yet have a release date on Netflix. The show is currently filming and has been since August 2022. Given season 5 was released in November 2022, some viewers may be expecting a long wait between seasons.
However, each batch of seasons with a new cast (seasons 1 and 2, and seasons 3 and 4) have only had a year between them. Based on this, as well as the fact the show almost always has a November release date, our best guess for a release date is November 2023.
Is The Crown season 6 the final season?
Yes, The Crown season 6 is the final season of the drama. Creator Peter Morgan initially planned to only write five seasons, before realizing there was too much he wanted to cover.
"At the outset, I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season five it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop," Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter. "I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision. 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."
For more on acclaimed historical drama, check out our breakdown of The Crown season 5 guest cast, returning The Crown cast in season 5, and The Crown season 5 episode count and information. For what else to watch, check out our guides to the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies.