The Crown season 5 features the return of several season 1 cast members

The Crown season 1
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Crown season 5 sees a new cast step into the iconic roles of the Royal Family - but that doesn’t mean the Netflix show isn’t referencing what’s come before. Season 1 and 2 cast members Claire Foy, Alex Jennings, Lia Williams, Vanessa Kirby, and Ben Miles all appear in the latest season in flashback scenes.

We’ll be discussing these scenes in a bit more detail below so make sure you’ve seen The Crown season 5 before going any further. 

The latest season begins with one of these cameos as Foy returns for a new scene as Queen Elizabeth II. Set in 1954, the episode starts with her arriving in Scotland to give a speech at the opening of the Royal Yacht Britannia in new footage recorded for season 5. This is not the first time that Foy has returned to the show since the cast change at the end of season 2. The actor also reprised her role in the season 4 episode ‘48:1’ to deliver a radio address for her 21st birthday in 1947.

Jennings also returns as the Duke of Windsor in season 5, alongside Williams as his wife Wallace Simpson. Episode three shows his visit to Egypt in 1946 and the impact it had on a young Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw). He also appears in several flashbacks throughout the episode to introduce Sydney Johnson, his long-time valet. 

Alex Jennings in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

Finally, Kirby and Miles are also back as Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend. When Lesley Manville’s Margaret reunites with Timothy Dalton’s Townsend, the pair are full of nostalgia and retrospect about their romance together.

As Margaret pours over his letters, there are several flashbacks to earlier seasons. Unlike the other cameos, it does not seem like any of these are new scenes filmed for the show, but rather clips from key moments in seasons 1 and 2.

The Crown season 5 is full of retrospective moments like this but does not feature any appearances from the season 3 and 4 casts, aside from moments glimpsed in photographs.

For more on acclaimed historical drama, check out our breakdown of The Crown season 5 ending, The Crown season 5 guest cast, The Crown season 5 cast vs. the real Royal Family, The Crown season 5 episode count and information, and everything we know so far about The Crown season 6.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.