The Crown season 5 has finally arrived on Netflix – and it's chock full of Royal Family-related drama. Dealing with everything from the breakdown of Diana and Prince Charles' marriage to the Windsor Castle fire as it moves into the 1990s, the most recent batch of episodes sees Imelda Staunton's Queen Elizabeth II face her most challenging few years yet.
That's not all that's going on across the ten episodes, either, but we don't want to give everything away – even if the majority of it is inspired by real-life events and you can learn what happened through Wikipedia anyway.
If you've yet to press play on episode 1 yet – we don't blame you, there's so much good stuff out there these days – we've taken a deep dive into everything you need to know about the show prior to doing so. This includes the new cast members and who they'll be playing, what the plot is, and when it was released on Netflix. We do mention some events that occurred in The Crown season 4, so if you aren't up to speed on the show, then beware of "spoilers."
The Crown season 5 release date
The Crown season 5 arrived on Netflix worldwide on November 9, 2022. It consists of ten episodes.
The streamer doesn't really do weekly rollouts, so it'll come as no surprise to you that all of the episodes landed at the same time – and you get to decide the speed in which you watch the whole thing. Lovely jubbly.
The Crown season 5 trailer
The Crown season 5 trailer was released only last month – and it's a very tense watch.
"The House of Windsor should be binding this nation together," says a voiceover. "And setting an example of idealized family life. It's a situation that cannot help but affect the stability of the country." We then see Charles, Camilla, and Diana as it becomes clear they'll be a big focus of the new season. Elsewhere Lesley Manville's Princess Margaret and Jonathan Pryce's Prince Philip appear as well for the first time since taking on the roles.
The Crown season 5 cast
Much like how Olivia Colman took over from original lead Claire Foy in seasons three and four, Imelda Staunton plays Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown season 5 and beyond.
"I have loved watching The Crown from the very start," Staunton said in a statement when her role was announced. "As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to [series creator] 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."
Jonathan Pryce appears as Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, while Lesley Manville brings Princess Margaret to life, following on from Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter. Marcia Warren, Claudia Harrison, Sam Woolf, and James Murray play The Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew, respectively. Former James Bond star Timothy Dalton has a small role as Peter Townsend, Margaret's lover whom we last saw in season 1.
Princess Diana was introduced in The Crown season 4, when Emma Corrin joined the cast. This time around, she's portrayed Elizabeth Debicki. Elsewhere, Dominic West is tasked with embodying Prince Charles, Diana's husband and Elizabeth's son, while Olivia Williams takes on his long-time lover Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana and Charles' eldest son William is played by Senan West, while Will Powell and Teddy Hawley play their youngest Harry.
Diana's lover Dodi Fayed, who died alongside her in 1997, is by Khalid Abdalla, while Salim Daw and Amir El-Masry appear as Dodi's father Mohamed Al-Fayed. Given the fact that Masry is younger than Abdalla, his scenes will likely be flashbacks. Prior to her relationship with Dodi, Diana was involved with Dr. Hasnat Khan, who will be played by Humayun Saeed.
At Number 10, we've got Jonny Lee Miller (as John Major), Flora Montgomery (Norma Major), Bertie Carvel (Tony Blair), and Lydia Leonard (Cherie Blair). Other supporting cast members include Emma Laird Craig (Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York), Andrew Havill (Robert Fellowes, the Queen's private secretary and brother-in-law of Princess Diana), Natascha McElhone (Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey), Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu (Monique Ritz), and Prasanna Puwanarajah (Martin Bashir).
Netflix has already begun casting season 6, too, with Rufus Kampa set to play Prince William at age 15, and Ed McVey taking on the role of the prince in his later teen and adult years. Meg Bellamy will play Kate Middleton.
The Crown season 5 plot
The Crown season 4 spanned from 1977 to 1990, with season 5 picking up sometime after it left off. Princess Diana and Prince Charles separated "amicably" in 1992 – a year Elizabeth later dubbed her "Annus horribilis" despite it being her Ruby Jubilee – which is a pretty big plot point. During filming, Elizabeth Debicki was papped on set wearing Diana's iconic "revenge dress", which she wore to a dinner at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens in 1994, and that features in one episode, too.
Diana and Charles' divorce isn't the only one touched on in season 5, either. In the 1990s, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew split, as did Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Neither Anne or Andrew have ever been huge parts of the show, however, so their personal lives are certainly not a main focus.
Diana's infamous Panorama interview features, too, made clear by the casting of Prasanna Puwanarajah's casting as the BBC's Martin Bashir – and that was broadcast on November 20, 1995. "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," she told the journalist at the time, which caused quite the stir. Of course, Diana was tragically killed in a car accident two years later, which is another key moment viewers can expect to see explored in the fifth chapter.
Other storylines you should gear yourselves up for include Tony Blair becoming Prime Minister in 1997, the Windsor Castle fire, and Prince Philip's close friendship with aristocrat Penny Brabourne, née Knatchbull.
As season 5 sees Elizabeth's reign extend into the 21st Century, we may also see the death of Princess Margaret in 2002 play out, after season 4 highlighted her struggles with her physical health, addiction, and depression. Either way, we'll definitely see her suffer a mild stroke in 1998.
The Crown's creator Peter Morgan has already stated that he wouldn't want to bring the show right up to present day, as it would be uncouth to cover things that are actively happening in the Royals' lives right now. If season 5 ended around 2003, then season 6, which is set to be the last chapter, would conclude in 2016 – and that really wasn't all that long ago. But we'll just have to wait and see when it comes to the exact time frames.
What's in store beyond The Crown season 5?
"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 creator Peter Morgan explained back in 2020. Essentially, yes, The Crown season 6 is happening – but it will be the show's last.
It has since been confirmed, via a casting call for teenage versions of Prince William and Prince Harry, that shooting will begin in late August 2022.
The Crown seasons 1-5 are available to stream now. If you've already bingewatched it all, check out our breakdown of the best Netflix shows for some viewing inspiration.