We're officially a matter of weeks away from The Crown season 6 premiering on Netflix, though fans of the historical drama will have to wait a little longer to see how it ends.
Releasing in two parts, the first half of the show's final chapter will chart Princess Diana's final days – a theory supported by the fact that Elizabeth Debicki's Spencer is the focus of Part 1's official poster. Across the new episodes, it'll explore the impact her tragic death has on the Royal Family, as well as the Queen Mother's passing, so it's sure to be an emotional affair.
As before, Jonathan Pryce, Dominic West, and Lesley Manville will reprise their roles as Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne, respectively. Meanwhile, Imelda Stanton steps back into the Queen's shoes as Elizabeth II. Given that there will presumably be a bit of a time jump between the season 5 finale and the sixth season's opener, there will be a couple of newbies among the cast, too, most notably those playing Prince William and Prince Harry.
Below, we reveal who's bringing the boys to life, and have compiled all of the major news about the new episodes. Alongside casting confirmations, there are details about leaked set photos and quotes from creator Peter Morgan, too. We'll also be giving our best estimate as to when The Crown season 6 release date will be, based on past releases and the traditional November air date. So, read on for your royal fix.
The Crown season 6 release date
The Crown season 6 is set to release in two parts; the first of which will release on 16 November 2023, before the second lands on the platform on 14 December. This marks the first time the show has unveiled one chapter in separate batches of episodes, though the streamer has done similar in the past with shows like You, Money Heist, and Stranger Things.
The sixth and final season of The Crown is coming. pic.twitter.com/71Rc9ItlOIOctober 9, 2023
Usually, there is only a year between grouped seasons: seasons 1 and 2 aired in 2016 and 2017, and seasons 3 and 4 aired in 2019 and 2020. The sixth and final installment isn't about to break that tradition, either, arriving exactly 12 months and one week after its predecessor.
The Crown season 6 trailer
Netflix announced season 6's staggered release dates via a first look teaser on Monday, October 9. In it, fans will recognize Claire Foy and Olivia Colman's takes on Queen Elizabeth II before Imelda Staunton takes focus. "It is not a choice, it is a duty," Colman's voiceover says of donning the titular headwear, before Staunton's dramatically continues: "But what about the life I put aside, the woman I put aside?"
The Crown season 6 cast
Almost all of The Crown season 5 cast will be reprising their roles in the final season. This means Imelda Staunton will be back as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce returns as her husband Prince Philip, and Lesley Manville as her sister Princess Margaret. Marcia Warren, Claudia Harrison, Sam Woolf, and James Murray will return as The Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew.
Elizabeth Debicki will be returning as Princess Diana, after taking over from Emma Corrin at the end of season 4. Dominic West and Olivia Williams will be back as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles as well. Elsewhere, Khalid Abdalla and Salim Daw will return as Dodi Fayed and his father, Mohammed, respectively. You can see most of the aforementioned actors in the first-look images above.
It's unlikely that Jonny Lee Miller will be back as John Major as the show now has a new Prime Minister in Tony Blair. Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel was introduced as the new PM in the season 5 finale, alongside his wife Cherie Blair, played by Lydia Leonard. Blair served as Prime Minister until 2007 so he'll likely play a big role in the upcoming final season.
Some new cast members will also be joining the show. Following a lengthy process, Prince William and Kate Middleton have been cast. The future king will be played by Rufus Kampa in the aftermath of Diana's death before Ed McVey takes over for his young adult years. Meg Bellamy will play Middleton when she meets the Prince at the University of St. Andrews. A younger version of Prince Harry will be played by Will Powell, but no more casting has been announced for him yet. This is the screen debut for all of these actors.
Speaking about their introduction, creator Morgan said they were "riveting" to watch. "In season 6, just the arrival of William and Kate and Harry is, so... It just blows the doors off, as it were, and you just wanna see them," he said on The Crown podcast. "And it happened in the read through when we were reading, you could just see everyone was just looking up and looking at each other across the room. And every time William spoke it was like, ‘Oh my God, this is just riveting.'"
Is The Crown season 6 the final season?
Yes, The Crown season 6 will be the final outing of the Netflix series. The show was originally supposed to conclude with season 5, but Morgan decided there was too much to cover in just 10 episodes.
"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 previously 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."
The Crown season 6 plot
The final season of The Crown is expected to take place between the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Morgan has confirmed that the show will not go into the present day at all, and will end in the 2000s.
Season 5 ended in 1997, as it chronicled Tony Blair’s election and Diana’s close relationship with Dodi Fayed. Based on filming pictures of Debicki on a yacht in the Mediterranean, season six is likely to pick up straight away, with the Princess of Wales’ final weeks (H/T Daily Mail).
After holidaying together, Diana and Dodi were killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, along with the driver, Henri Paul. Deadline has reported that the show will not depict the crash itself, but instead the events before and after. Fans of the film The Queen, which was scripted by The Crown's writer Peter Morgan, will know this was a tumultuous time for the Royal Family as they dealt with the public outpouring of grief for Diana.
Given the casting of Prince William and Middleton, we also know that the series will follow the future king’s years at university when they first met in 2001. The show will probably examine the impact of grief on Prince William and Prince Harry following their mother’s death.
Other major moments for the Royal Family during this time likely to be depicted include the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, which was sadly followed soon by the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother in February and March, respectively. Per The Sun, the series may even stretch up to the 2005 wedding between Prince Charles and Camilla, but this has not yet been confirmed by Netflix.
For more on acclaimed historical drama, check out our breakdown of The Crown season 5 guest cast, returning The Crown cast in season 5, The Crown season 5 cast vs. the real Royal Family, and how many episodes there are in The Crown season 5. We've also rounded up the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies for what to watch next.