Two years after its fourth season bowed in November of 2020, The Crown returned to Netflix on Nov. 9, 2022 for its highly anticipated fifth season. Following its pattern of swapping in a new cast of actors every two seasons, this one features the debuts of Elizabeth Debicki, Jonathan Pryce, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West as the main characters.
The fifth season follows into the 1990s the turbulent history of the British royal family during Queen Eilizabeth II’s reign, including the souring relationship and divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The coming sixth season is set to be the series’ last, and while The Crown is a fictionalized version of true events, certain crucial happenings of the late 1990s and early 21st century are likely to come in the show’s final episodes.
Princess Diana’s Death (1997)
Princess Diana’s tragic 1997 death in Paris remains one of the most poignant and sensitive moments in modern history, and The Crown is guaranteed to depict this sobering event that changed British royalty forever. However, according to the New York Daily News, it will not show the actual car crash but instead the days leading up to Diana’s death and the heart-wrenching days that followed it.
This important moment will come at the beginning of the sixth season, according to Marie Claire. Filming began in September 2022, with season five stars Dominic West (Prince Charles) and Elizabeth Debicki (Princess Diana) capturing the last lonely and torrid days of her life.
Prince Edward And Sophie Rhys-Jones’ Wedding (1999)
The royal wedding of Prince Edward to the Duchess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones, took place in June 1999, and it’s likely to feature in The Crown’s sixth season, especially because it is the last “first” wedding of Queen Elizabeth II’s children.
The simplicity and lack of scandal surrounding Prince Edward’s wedding is important as a plot line because it illustrates a stark and dramatic contrast to the public debacle of Prince Andrew’s divorce from Sarah Ferguson in 1996 Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s messy split.
The Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday (2000)
To illustrate the longevity and permanence of the British royal family, it’s likely the 100th birthday of the Queen Mother in 2000 will appear as a story in the sixth season of The Crown.
The Queen Mother was honored by a 41-gun salute and greeted by thousands of fans who descended on the mall of Buckingham Palace to offer their birthday felicitations on her 100th birthday. Flanked by her daughters Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, she stood on the balcony accompanied by the rest of the royal family. Narratively, this rare moment of happiness and tranquility ciykd stand in contrast to the turmoil the royal family endured through the ’90s.
Prince William’s First Encounter With Kate Middleton (2001)
According to E! News, Netflix has confirmed casting Ed McVey and Rufus Kampa as Prince William and the actress Meg Ballamy as a young Kate, who will appear in the final season of The Crown. Following the timeline of actual events, it’s plausible the season will focus on their meeting at the University of St. Andrews in 2001.
With the sixth season focusing largely on the tragedies of the royal family starting with the sad death of Princess Diana, the story of William and Kate’s young love and the promise of the future would serve as a welcome, hopeful counterpoint.
Princess Margaret’s Death (2002)
The sister of Queen Elizabeth II, the always quotable Princess Margaret holds an important place in the storyline of The Crown just as she held an important place in the royal family in real life. Her diminishing role as a royal and inability to marry her first love, Peter Townsend, led to a tumultuous relationship with the queen. Yet their sisterly bond is featured heavily in the fifth season and could be further explored in the show’s last episodes.
Based on the series’ depictions of Margaret so far, fans can anticipate the story of her final days will be told in a standalone episode. According to the Daily Express, Princess Margaret suffered three strokes between 1998 and 2001, with her final stroke taking her life in 2002. Queen Elizabeth cried at Margaret’s funeral, “the only time anyone ever saw the Queen show her emotions in public,” as Vanity Fair put it.
Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-Bowles’ Wedding (2005)
An inevitable arc of The Crown‘s sixth season is the 2005 marriage of Prince Charles to his first love, Camilla, tying the knot 35 years after they met. The wedding of Charles and Camilla is significant in the royal family’s story, given the role their romance played in the demise and fallout of Prince Charles’s first marriage to Princess Diana.
The simple civil ceremony, which was held in real life at the Windsor Guildhall per the BBC, would offer viewers the necessary moment of pause to reflect on history and how it all played out for the heir apparent, Prince Charles.
Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th Birthday (2006)
The early 2000s held many high points for the British monarchy, including Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday, celebrated across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
If The Crown depicts this milestone birthday, it could use the event to explore the loyalty of a country to its monarch, in particular Prince Charles, masterfully played by Dominic West. On the happy occasion, Charles notably lauded his mother’s lifetime of service and dedication to the country, addressing her warmly at the time as his “darling Mama,” according to the Daily Mirror.
Queen Elizabeth II And Prince Philip’s 60th Wedding Anniversary (2007)
Played superbly by Imelda Staunton, Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary. Per Reuters, this event was celebrated with much pomp as the royal couple revisited Westminster Abbey to renew their vows, including German relations who had not been to their 1947 wedding given the strong anti-Nazi sentiment after World War II.
Peter Morgan could use this historical family moment to illustrate the staying power of the British crown though its very foundation had been rocked with tragedy and scandal within the decade and forced to face the pressures of a changing world.
Tony Blair’s Premiership (1997–2007)
Tony Blair’s tenure as prime minister will no doubt feature in the sixth season of The Crown. Blair played a pivotal role in steering the royal family to steadier waters when the royal establishment was under question following the tragic death of Princess Diana. In an interview with Today, Blair reminisced that the queen “understood, because always her duty came first, that she had to respond to this extraordinary outpouring of grief about Princess Diana.”
Peter Morgan depicted these events previously in his movie The Queen, so if he tackles the subject again, he’d likely show it from different narrative angles or use it to color his depiction of the royal family in new ways. Deft handling of this overlap in history between the film and the TV series could enhance both works.
Prince William And Kate Middleton’s Wedding (2011)
The last season of The Crown likely won’t touch on very recent events such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the royal family behind them, but it may allude to the future wedding of the next heir apparent, Prince William.
In a show that has observed the bloodline of the house of Windsor since King George V, the creators will likely want to leave fans with a glimmer of hope and anticipation for the future. Alluding to a royal match between Princess Diana’s elder son and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton would bring not only bring a sense of aspiration but a fitting transition to what the modern monarchy might become.
Next: The Crown 10 Burning Questions Viewers Have After Season 5