It feels like only yesterday that season five of The Crown dropped, but here we are already talking about its upcoming sixth and final iteration. The show, which has amassed millions of viewers from all over the world (including the Royals themselves), has drawn in criticism, controversy and praise, with some finding it highly entertaining — and others, highly offensive.
After season three had aired, the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, announced that the drama series would be ending with season five. Then, in July 2020, it was announced that he had changed his mind.
“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,” he told Netflix in a statement.
Now, with the first trailer for the highly anticipated sixth and final season finally here, we have never been more glad that Morgan reversed his decision.
Below, everything we know about season six of The Crown from its potential plot points to the cast list and release date.
What is the plot of The Crown season six?
Speaking to Deadline in June 2022, Dominic West (who plays Prince Charles) told the outlet that season six was “as tumultuous as it gets.” Of course, he was referring to this season’s need to deal with Princess Diana’s death, which has apparently been a very high-stress situation both on and off set.
According to Netflix, the first four episodes of the season will deal with Prince Charls’ and Princess Diana’s first Summer as a divorced couple. While Diana is courted by Dodi Fayed on holiday in the South of France, Charles sticks to tradition and takes Prince Charles and Prince Harry to Balmoral. When Diana longs to return to her boys, she takes a diversion to Paris, where an infamous aggressive media pursuit led to her tragic and untimely death.
In October 2022, The Sun reported tension amid crew members, with some believing a “line had been crossed” in dealing with this sensitive historical moment.
“To be going back to Paris and turning Diana’s final days and hours into a drama feels very uncomfortable,” one set source apparently told the outlet. “The show always tried to present a fictional version of royal history with as much sensitivity as possible. But lately, as things get closer to the present day, it feels harder to strike that balance. With some of those moments still so fresh and upsetting, it feels as though a line is being crossed,” they continued.
“The show might be big and noisy, but we’re not. We’re thoughtful people and we’re sensitive people. There were very careful, long conversations about how we were going to do it,” producer Suzanne Mackie said, per Deadline. “The audience will judge it in the end, but I think it’s been delicately, thoughtfully recreated. Elizabeth Debicki is an extraordinary actress and she was so thoughtful and considerate. She loved Diana. There’s a huge amount of respect from us all, I hope that’s evident.”
As for whether we can expect more seasons beyond the sixth, sources have expressed their fairly unwavering belief that we won’t be — at least not in the near future.
“Peter has said it very articulately, that he simply can’t write something unless there has been time to gain a proper perspective,” Mackie told Broadcast in July 2021. “I think he’s always felt 10 years is the minimum amount of time that he can see something in a historical context, to allow him to really understand it.”
Of course, he has been known to change his mind, particularly in giving us a sixth season at all, but Mackie remained firm that she didn’t see him straying from this plan and expanding into more seasons.
“I don’t think he’ll deviate from that,” she added. “We all know these stories, but what Peter does so brilliantly is get underneath that and understand the landscape in a more nuanced, complex, surprising way.”
Given the period of time that it covers, Digital Spy has predicted that season six of The Crown will likely include key historical events such as “the Queen and Prince Philip’s golden wedding anniversary (1997), the death of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret (2002), the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (2002) and Prince Charles and Camilla’s marriage (2005), plus more glimpses of Tony Blair’s time in office (1997-2007).”
Morgan has previously stated that he would not cover Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018 as his initial intentions were to cover 60 years of British royal history. This would place the end point of the series in 2012, at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. If he does take it this far, Prince William’s 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton could well make the cut.
We’re also expecting to see Kate Middleton and Prince William’s early romance brought to life as the show sees Prince William settle into life at the University of St Andrews.
“You need at least a decade, in my view, to separate yourself from the events that you’re writing about,” Morgan said on the TV’s Top 5 podcast in 2019. “Something has already happened that I think is the end, but you can’t ever say what the end is because things change and the minute things change historically, you begin to have to respond in some shape or form, even in your thinking. So I have an idea — but it’s only an idea.”
Who will star in The Crown season six?
The typical casting procedure for The Crown sees actors reprise their roles for two seasons, so given that we’re ending on an even number, it’s safe to assume that the leading actors from season five will be returning for season six. This includes:
• Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
• Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip
• Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret
• Jonny Lee Miller as John Major
• Dominic West as Charles, Prince of Wales
• Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales
• Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
• Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles
• Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne
• James Murray as Prince Andrew
• Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed
• Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair
• Timothy Dalton as Peter Townsend
That being said, given the period of time season six is covering, we’ll be introduced to a few new characters, including an older iteration of Prince William and Prince Harry.
The most notable new additions to The Crown season six are Meg Bellamy (Kate Middleton), Rufus Kampa and Ed McVey (who play teenage and early adult Prince William respectively) and an older version of Prince Harry who has not been cast yet.
Will there be a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth?
According to a recent report by The Sun, the final season of The Crown will pay tribute to the late monarch. The report reveals that Claire Foy, Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton—who have all taken on the role of Queen Elizabeth—will return for a series of special tribute scenes.
The Sun also claims that a brand new actress, Viola Prettejohn, will join the cast as a much younger then-Princess Elizabeth—before her coronation.
What is the release date for The Crown season six?
In October, Netflix revealed that the final season of The Crown will premiere in two parts, with part one arriving on the 16th November 2023 and part two arriving 14th December 2023.
Despite the season’s filming starting in August 2022, it only wrapped up in April 2023. This is because the show halted the filming because of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“The Crown is a love letter to her and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect. I expect we will stop filming out of respect too,” Morgan told Deadline in September 2022.
Netflix has also confirmed the season will have ten episodes, with four episodes in part one, and six epsiodes in part two.
Is there a trailer for The Crown season six?
The official trailer for Season six, Part one has launched, and it certainly lives up to our expectations.
Against a series of clips of her Summer holiday in the South of France, Princess Diana can be heard saying, “I don’t really understand how I ended up here. Dashing around and losing sight of myself in the process. I think that’s been the story of my whole life.
Then, in an eerie shadowing of what’s to come, the late Princess says, “The press are on our tails constantly.”
You can view the trailer in full here.
The first look of The Crown season six, revealed
On October 17, Netflix unveiled the first photos behind season six of The Crown. The eight photos released teased a new sadness for Diana, pictured happy next to her children, but also alone on a yacht and looking overwhelmed in a crowded room.
We also see an iconic image of Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, the side-profile shot reminiscent of her effigy on our currency.
The images include a snapshot of the Fayeds, Dodi on a glamorous outboard in the Mediterranean, and his father Mohamed al-Fayed looking menacing in a high-backed chair, potentially hinting at the coming tension between their father-and-son dynamic.
A smiling Dominic West as Prince Charles poses in Scotland with his children William and Harry. West said of the series that you’ll see a “real sadness” but “real compassion” from the future king coming this season.
“What’s great about The Crown is that you see these public figures in private,” he says. “I suspect in private he’s quite emotional, well that’s the way I played him anyway… I think, hopefully, what comes out is compassionate but relatively well balanced.”
View the images here: