- Netflix's original series "The Crown" is based on the drama behind Queen Elizabeth II's reign.
- Every two seasons, the cast is completely re-hauled to reflect the passage of time.
- Season five premiered on November 9 with an entirely new cast.
Caroline Praderio contributed to an earlier version of this post.
Claire Foy auditioned for the role while she was six months pregnant, wearing a tiara, gloves, and gown.
Queen Elizabeth II had a ground-breaking coronation, as it was the first ever to be televised. According to the Royal Family's official website, the historical event was watched by 27 million people in the UK alone.
Netflix unveiled its first look at the older Queen in July 2018.
"I'm so thrilled to be part of 'The Crown,'" Colman wrote in a statement. "I think Claire Foy is an absolute genius. She's an incredibly hard act to follow."
Elizabeth gave birth to her fourth and youngest child, Prince Edward, in 1964. Her role on the world stage continued to grow throughout the '60s.
She established her "walkabout" tradition, something like an informal meet-and-greet, during a trip to New Zealand in 1970.
According to "Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family: A Glorious Illustrated History," it has allowed her to establish a closer connection to thousands of subjects and "signaled a radical break with centuries of tradition."
Staunton was announced as the final Queen Elizabeth II in January 2020, back when it was thought that there wouldn't be a season six — this was later changed.
"As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan's scripts. I am genuinely honored to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking 'The Crown' to its conclusion," Staunton told The Hollywood Reporter.
Season five of "The Crown" was released on November 9, 2022, just a few months after the real Queen Elizabeth died in September.
Matt Smith was the source of a media firestorm and online outrage when it was revealed that he was paid more than Foy. He responded by speaking out in support of equal pay.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth were married for over 73 years.
"I'm thrilled to be joining the new cast of 'The Crown' and to be working with Olivia Colman again," Menzies wrote in a statement. "I look forward to becoming her 'liege man of life and limb.'"
Philip was awarded the Order of the Merit by the Queen in 1968, a highly exclusive honor that recognizes "great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature and science."
As usual, one episode of the new season of "The Crown" was focused almost entirely on the Duek of Edinburgh. In season five, Prince Philip's episode was No. 6, "Ipatiev House."
He died in April 2021 at age 99.
On the first two seasons of "The Crown," Margaret is portrayed as a vivacious, intelligent, yet somewhat rebellious young adult.
She was Queen Elizabeth II's only sibling.
Princess Margaret still remains one of the most stylish royals in history, and the image captures the new decade: Bonham Carter is wearing a winged eyeliner, a make-up trend that became popular throughout the '60s, which is very different from how Kirby was styled on the first two seasons as the same character.
She and her husband had welcomed two children by this time: David and Sarah, who were briefly introduced at the end of "The Crown's" second season.
Margaret was often followed by photographer Ray Bellisario, the "original paparazzo."
"I know I'm going to be very fond of Margaret, and very sad to say goodbye to Margaret when I stop playing her. I mean, it's been enormous, and it's been a privilege and a real treat to work on this series," Manville told Collider.
Princess Margaret died on February 9, 2002. She was 71.
According to reports, a 22-year-old Margaret fell in love with one of the men working in the Queen's stables, Peter Townsend, soon after the death of her father in 1952.
Because she was under 25, Margaret had to ask for Queen Elizabeth's permission to marry him. But because he was previously divorced, Queen Elizabeth refused. The Church of England and Parliament were also said to be against the match.
She tried again to marry him in 1955, after she turned 25 and would no longer need the Queen's permission. But Parliament said they'd revoke her royal privileges if she married a divorcee.
After more than 30 years apart, Margaret and her ex-lover, played by former James Bond actor Dalton, met up at a party and danced together in one of the most melancholy moments of the show.
Townsend remarried after the collapse of his first marriage and the break-up with Princess Margaret. He was married to his second wife, Marie-Luce Jamagne, from 1959 until his death in June 1995.
Margaret reportedly met her future husband, a magazine photographer, at a dinner party in 1958. He photographed a famous portrait of her in 1959. Their relationship was kept very private in the beginning.
Three years after announcing that she would not marry Townsend, Margaret married Armstrong-Jones.
They tied the knot at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 1960 in the first royal wedding to be broadcast on TV.
After the birth of their daughter in 1964, Armstrong-Jones reportedly began sleeping with other women while away on photographic assignments, according to The Evening Standard.
After years of reported infidelity on both sides, the couple separated in 1976. Two years later, Margaret became the first royal to divorce since Henry VIII, who reigned in the 1500s.
When the two began dating in 1973, Llewellyn was 25 and Margaret was 43.
The two dated for eight years, and their relationship played a part in the dissolution of Margaret's marriage. He later married Tatiana Soskin in 1981.
King George VI reluctantly claimed the throne in 1937, after his older brother gave it up in order to marry an American socialite, Wallis Simpson.
Elizabeth II became Queen directly following his death in 1952.
Directly after his father died in 1936, Edward VIII took the throne. Less than a year later, he renounced it in a scandalous, unprecedented move.
Edward had thrown the royal family into disarray by proposing to an American divorcee.
As head of the Church of England, which did not allow divorced people to remarry at the time, he was unable to remain king and continue with his nuptials.
"I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King […] without the help and support of the woman I love," he said in a radio address to the nation in December 1936.
Jacobi played the Duke of Windsor at the end of his life for his final appearance, to once again ask for forgiveness from his niece, the Queen.
He died in 1972 at the age of 77. He had last seen the Queen just 10 days before his death.
Simpson was divorced twice before she fell in love with the royal.
Edward and Simpson married in 1937 and stayed together until Edward's death in 1972. (And she wasn't the only commoner who married into royalty.)
She was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing her own grandmother, Hannah Chaplin, in 1992's "Chaplin" which Robert Downey Jr. also starred in.
Simpson died in 1986 at the age of 89.
Elizabeth was the wife of King George VI. She gave birth to her eldest daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, in 1926. She welcomed her second daughter, Margaret, in 1930.
She wore black for a full year following her husband's death on February 6, 1952.
"Wonderful to be joining 'The Crown,'" she said in a statement. "It's a brilliant show and we have a tough act to follow but what a gift to be playing the fascinating and greatly loved Queen Mother."
She still looked regal as ever.
Warren is a highly respected theater actress. She has two Olivier Awards.
The Queen Mother died in 2002. She lived to be an impressive 101 years old.
Queen Mary was already a princess when she married her second cousin once removed, the future King George V.
She was 85 years old when she died in her sleep.
Billy Jenkins played a young Prince Charles, while twins Grace and Amelia Gilmour played Princess Anne.
Prince Charles would go on to become the father of Prince William and Prince Harry.
Prince Charles is next in line for the throne. Now 72 years old, he will be the oldest person in British history to be crowned — if he doesn't abdicate in favor of his son, Prince William.
Princess Anne, the Queen's only daughter, comes after her three brothers and their kids in the line of succession.
A quote at the end of the episode, titled "Paterfamilias," stated that the Prince reportedly called the school an "absolute hell," and added that he sent both his sons to Eton, which was much closer to home.
Despite reportedly not loving his time at the school, he was there until 1967.
"Seasons three and four will follow some of the most turbulent events in the Princes of Wales's life and our national story and I'm excited to be bringing to life the man in the midst of it all," he said in a statement.
O'Connor won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama at the 2021 awards ceremony. It was his first nomination. He also won an Emmy.
Prince Charles enrolled at Cambridge University in 1967. He studied archaeology, anthropology, and history before receiving his degree in 1970.
"This is where we scale a significant part of his life which I feel so honored and excited to tell the story," O'Connor told RadioTimes.com. "And tell a very different side of the story that we may not have seen or have known about."
"I was pretty amazed at how, when I said earlier, I talked to a lot of people that had met [Charles], I mean, that was what was astonishing, was how many people have met him, but also how many people had a positive experience and felt that he touched their lives in a positive way," West told The Hollywood Reporter.
Prince Charles became King Charles upon the death of his mother, the queen, in September. His coronation is set for May 2023.
"I have been glued to the show and to think I'm now joining this incredible talented acting family is surreal," Corrin wrote in a statement. "Princess Diana was an icon and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring."
In February 2021, Corrin won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama for their performance as Diana. Later that year, Corrin won the Emmy, as well.
Lady Diana Spencer became Princess Diana following her marriage to Prince Charles.
The couple met in 1977 when Diana was 16 years old. Charles was dating her older sister, Sarah, at the time. They later married in 1981, and divorced in 1996.
Here she is in Princess Diana's infamous "revenge dress."
"The revenge dress was pressure," Debicki told British Vogue.
The dress is an off-the-shoulder minidress that Princess Diana wore to an event in 1994, the same night her estranged husband revealed his infidelity during a TV interview.
In real life, Senan is Dominic West's son, so the two are father and son both on- and off-screen.
Ed McVey and Rufus Kamp will take over as Prince William in season six.
Hawley was replaced by Will Powell later on in the season.
The future Duke of Sussex can be seen here with his mother in Austria.
"To be a part of 'The Crown' feels both special and surreal," Doherty wrote in a statement. "There is such a special dynamic within Princess Anne that I am incredibly grateful to be able to explore. She is a woman of great strength and heart — I feel privileged to fight her corner."
She entered public life at age 18 and has been an active member of the royal family ever since.
"Anne's an extraordinary character," Harrison told Town and Country. "She's not there to make people feel better about themselves, but she is superb at her job and is a proper feminist. She's someone we can really look up to and I think she has no sense of entitlement."
Anne, like two of her three siblings, didn't have the happiest first marriage. She called it quits with her husband Mark Phillips in 1989, before officially divorcing him three years later so she could marry Timothy Laurance.
Their relationship first developed in season three, but due to machinations by Charles' uncle Lord Mountbatten, their relationship ended when Charles was sent away for eight months.
She reappeared as Charles' "close friend" during his relationship with Princess Diana, though it became clear they were still in love.
Parker Bowles and her husband remained married until 1995. She and Charles married in 2005, and they have been together ever since.
Williams joked with Variety that production "will just have to try and suppress how very deeply hot we are for season six," after criticism that she and West were "too hot" to play Prince Charles and Parker Bowles.
Season five dedicated an episode to "Camillagate," when private conversations between Parker Bowles and Prince Charles leaked to the press.
Many eyebrows were raised when one of Prince Andrew's first scenes on "The Crown" had to do with his interest in a movie starring a "nubile 17-year-old girl."
The Duke and Duchess of York were married from 1986 to 1996, though they had originally separated in 1992.
"The material is brilliant. And apprehension with regards to what is going on with Andrew in the press? Not really, because the first thing to do was to divorce myself from all that and just treat it as white noise and crack on with the material that was put in front of me," Murray told Variety.
"I'm very honored and privileged to have been offered the role. And it was great fun playing it."
Season five of "The Crown" touches upon the end of his marriage to Ferguson, and even mentions the infamous toe-sucking incident, when photos were taken of Ferguson and her "financial advisor" John Bryan on vacation engaging in some PDA.
You might recognize Imrie from his brief yet memorable role in "Fleabag."
Prince Edward was still a teenager during the events of season four. In this photo, he's a little older, at 22.
Woolf didn't have a huge role in season five, but season six could showcase him and Prince Edward more as he has milestone moments in his life.
Prince Edward became a TV producer in the '90s, forming a production company called Ardent Productions.
Mountbatten was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, so he was both Prince Philip's uncle as well as a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince William named his third son Louis, likely in tribute to the late Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Dance is recognizable for his role as Tywin Lannister in "Game of Thrones," but he's been acting for decades.
Mountbatten was assassinated in 1979 by a faction of the IRA, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary group dedicated to securing Ireland's independence. They placed a bomb inside his fishing boat.
These events played out in season four.
Rosalind Knight and Sophie Leigh Stone played Princess Alice in seasons one and two respectively, but Lapotaire took over in season three when Alice moved into Buckingham Palace at the end of her life.
After the Greek royal family was driven out of the country, Alice eventually became a nun and gave up almost all of her possessions. She moved into Buckingham Palace in 1965 as her health was failing, and died in 1967 at 84 years old.
Lithgow had to wear a fat suit to portray the storied politician.
Churchill was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955. His second term was shown on the first season of "The Crown."
Eden succeeded Churchill in 1955, though he didn't last long.
"Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden is best known for his controversial handling of the Suez crisis in 1956," states the British government's official website.
He left office in 1957 and died 20 years later.
Lesser joined the cast in season two, after he took over for Eden. He later resigned at the end of the season.
Macmillan was in office until 1963, when he resigned from a hospital bed. He lived another 20 years and died in 1986.
According to CNN, Wilson was the first prime minister from a lower-middle-class background and he got along well with the Queen. However, the show's third season seemed to imply the Queen was, at first, nervous he was a Soviet spy — but they eventually became very close.
Wilson was prime minister from 1964 to 1970, and 1974 to 1976.
Maloney was also in "The Trial of Christine Keeler," which followed the events of the real-life scandal the Profumo Affair, which was covered in season two of "The Crown."
Heath was preceded and succeeded by Wilson, as Heath served as prime minister from 1970 to 1974.
Anderson was announced in September 2019 for season four, but not everyone knows how to feel about it, as she was a controversial historical figure.
She also won a Golden Globe for her role in 2021, for best supporting actress in a TV series.
Thatcher became known as the Iron Lady for her uncompromising ways and strong will. She was prime minister from 1979 to 1990.
Boxer told the Times that while the Thatchers were "not in love as I particularly have known it, you cannot deny that it is love."
As Margaret was the first female prime minister, he was the first male spouse of the prime minister. They were married until Denis' death in 2003.
Like Dominic West and Olivia Williams, some people think Miller is "too hot" for his role as well.
Major was the leader of the UK until 1997.
Montgomery appears in six episodes of season five.
The Majors have been married for 52 years, tying the knot in 1970.