'The Crown' Season 5: Everything to Know About the New Royals

Was the 1990s the most dramatic decade for the royal family? You be the judge.
by Amber Dowling — 

Elizabeth Debicki in 'The Crown'


A lot has happened in the world of the royals since The Crown went into production on its fifth (and originally final) season in July 2021. That includes the Sept. 8 death of Queen Elizabeth and more than a couple of British Prime Ministers taking power. But when The Crown returns, it won't jump that far ahead in time, instead honing in on the 1990s. 

The '90s was a decade of immense change for the royals at the center of this fictionalized series, with divorces, the death of Princess Diana, political strife, and a changing international landscape that made many question the existence of the royals in the first place. 

In fact, creator Peter Morgan realized there was so much to tell he extended the series for another sixth (and now final) season, which began filming this past August. Curious what kind of drama to expect when these characters return? Read on for Metacritic's quick refreshers on the actors and storylines anchoring Season 5 when it debuts Nov. 9 on Netflix. 


Imelda Staunton in 'The Crown'


Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton)

Previously played by: Claire Foy and Olivia Colman

The House of Windsor was full of PR nightmares in the 1990s, as The Queen watched three of her four children's marriages fall apart. As the royals put out those public fires, there is also an actual fire at Windsor Castle, plus a changing political landscape to deal with. It's one of the most tumultuous times ever for the crown, as Elizabeth approaches the 40th anniversary of her accession and the world around her changes. 


Jonathan Pryce in 'The Crown'


Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Sir Jonathan Pryce)

Previously played by: Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies

A determined father, Prince Philip spends a lot of time trying to help Charles save his marriage to Diana. He also has a big job in supporting the Queen as she faces unparalleled public scrutiny. Aside from the family, however, this year the show tackles Philip's long talked-about friendship with Penny Knatchbull (Natasha McElhone), a friendship that forges after Penny loses her 5-year-old child to cancer.


Dominic West in 'The Crown'


Prince Charles (Dominic West)

Previously played by: Josh O'Connor

Not only will Prince Charles deal with the fallout from his divorce to Diana when Season 5 picks up, but also his romance and relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles (Olivia Williams) will also be on display. Part of his storyline will involve pressuring his mother for the eventual divorce, a move that inevitably causes friction in the relationship.


Elizabeth Debicki in 'The Crown'


Diana, Princess of Wales (Elizabeth Debicki)

Previously played by: Emma Corrin

Now that The Crown has been extended for a sixth and final installment, this season takes its time exploring Diana as a character following her divorce from Charles. That includes her trying to take control of her own narrative, particularly through the famous 1995 interview with the BBC's Panorama. She'll also get to know Dodi Al Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) and his father, Mohamed (Salim Daw). 


Lesley Manville in 'The Crown'


Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville)

Previously played by: Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter

As the series approaches Princess Margaret's real-life death in 2002, it will inevitably delve into her health scares and conditions throughout her final decade. While that's a dark outlook for such a sprightly character, this season will reunite her with a character from a happier time: Captain Peter Townsend (now played by Timothy Dalton). 


Jonny Lee Miller in 'The Crown'


Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller)

Previously played by: N/A

The man who succeeded Margaret Thatcher becomes the 10th Prime Minister Queen Elizabeth works with during her long reign. Not only is he by her side as she handles the public divorce between Prince Charles and Diana, but they also wade through international conflicts, such as the Gulf War, together.


Olivia Williams and Dominic West in 'The Crown'


Camilla Parker Bowles (Olivia Williams)

Previously played by: Emerald Fennell

While there's a romance to be told between Camilla and Charles, this season viewers will also see the fallout of their relationship leaking to the press. That kind of exposure changes the woman's life forever, another aspect of the character the creatives will reportedly explore. In real life these two had their phones tapped, which led to "tampongate," in which Charles joked about hiding and turning into a pair of Camilla's knickers or "a Tampax."


Claudia Harrison in 'The Crown'


Princess Anne (Claudia Harrison)

Previously played by: Erin Doherty

One of the Queen's three children to divorce in 1992, Princess Anne ends her 19-year marriage to Captain Mark Phillips but marries again, this time to Commander Timothy Laurence (Theo Fraser Steele) by the end of that same year. Today the pair have been married for nearly 30 years, but on the show their coupledom is headline-grabbing, particularly since they are romantically linked before Anne's divorce is finalized. 

The Crown Season 5 debuts in full on Nov. 9 on Netflix.