We love The Crown, one of the best acted and most beautifully made dramas around at the moment. Netflix has confirmed that the show will return for a third and fourth series, and in this article we round up everything we know (and the most plausible rumours) about the cast, the plot, the release date and more.
When will Netflix show The Crown season 3?
The Crown Season 3 will air in 2019 - on Netflix, naturally. (Here's how to watch Netflix on TV.)
Season 3's launch date hasn't been announced yet, but the producers started filming series 3 in July 2018, so we're hopeful for an early-2019 premiere.
Series 1 first aired in November 2016, and series 2 in December 2017.
How many episodes will there be?
Ten, almost certainly. The original plan was to film 60 episodes across six series, and there were 10 in each of the first two series.
Has a trailer been released yet?
No! All we've had from Netflix is the announcement of key members of the cast and a handful of photos of the actors in character.
Here for example is Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret:
Cast news: Who plays the Queen in The Crown season 3?
The cast remained largely constant across the first two series of the Crown, but everything changes for season 3 (and will remain for season 4). All the major characters have been recast.
This will be a regular occurrence for as long as the show lasts - every other season the cast will be 'updated' to account for the characters ageing.
Queen Elizabeth II will be played by Olivia Colman in season 3. Claire Foy performed the role wonderfully in the first two series, but if anyone can follow her it's Colman (who also looks quite convincingly like the queen).
Prince Philip was also played with great charisma in the first two series, by Matt Smith. He is now replaced by Tobias Menzies, who you may know as Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones (the guy who surrendered Riverrun to the Lannisters). There was a rumour that this role would be taken by Paul Bethany but he was obliged to drop out.
Prince Charles will now be played by Josh O'Connor, Princess Margaret by Helena Bonham Carter, the Queen Mother by Marion Bailey and Harold Wilson by Jason Watkins - and that's just the tip of the iceberg of the changes.
We're saddest to report that the superb Alex Jennings will no longer be taking the role of the Duke of Windsor, and apparently he agrees.
There are of course some entirely new parts too. Emerald Fennell has been confirmed to play Camilla Parker-Bowles, and no doubt there will be a lot of interest in Princess Diana when she appears (Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, has been tipped for this) but that shouldn't be a factor until series 4.
Which years will be covered by The Crown season 3?
Season 3 will last from 1964-1976… we think. But there's a certain amount of dispute on this issue.
Leaving aside flashbacks, series 1 of The Crown lasted from late 1947 to 1956, and the second series followed on smoothly from 1957 to 1963.
Series 3 will definitely begin in 1964, and most sources currently report that the series will last until 1976, the year of punk rock. (That might feel a bit weird.) Series 4 will then take us up to Charles meeting Diana (1977), Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister (1979) and beyond.
But others think that the 1964-1976 time frame represents series 3 and 4 combined, and that season 3 will only take us up to about 1971 (which is when Prince Charles meets Camilla Parker-Bowles).
Plot rumours: What will happen in The Crown season 3?
The Crown is historical (albeit with more than a touch of artistic licence at times) so we should be able to predict roughly which events will be covered in the third series.
Assuming, as most pundits currently do, that we're looking at a period from 1964 and 1976, the following events could be covered (although some could be a little on the dry side for TV drama):
- Mar 1964: Birth of Prince Edward
- Oct 1964: Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister
- 1965: Abolition of the death penalty
- July 1966: England hosts and wins the football World Cup
- Oct 1966: The Aberfan disaster (this will definitely be covered)
- 1966: Abolition of British monarchy in Malawi, followed by Rhodesia in 1970, Sierra Leone in 1971, Sri Lanka in 1972 and many others
- 1967: Legalisation of homosexuality, abortion and the contraceptive pill for unmarried women
- 1969: Prince Charles formally invested as Prince of Wales on TV (although he had held the title since 1958)
- 1970: Ted Heath becomes Prime Minister
- 1971: British currency goes decimal
- 1972: Bloody Sunday
- 1973: Britain joins EEC
- March 1974: Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister for a second time
Plus Sergeant Pepper, LSD and women's lib. And we will also see the breakdown of Princess Margaret's marriage to Lord Snowdon in this series.