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.”
In July 2021, Netflix shared the first photo of Imelda Staunton as the Queen for seasons five and six.
“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.
In July 2021, Netflix released its first look at Staunton as the British monarch.
Here’s the real Queen in July 1997. The show is set to portray her up until the early 2000s.
Vanessa Kirby was the first to portray Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister.
On the first two seasons of “The Crown,” Margaret is portrayed as a vivacious, intelligent, yet somewhat rebellious young adult.
Here’s a young Margaret in 1951, four months ahead of her 21st birthday.
She was Queen Elizabeth II’s only sibling.
Helena Bonham Carter took over the role as Princess Margaret on season three.
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.
Lesley Manville will take over in season five.
Here’s Margaret, left, at the investiture of Prince Charles.
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.”
In seasons one and two, Ben Miles played Peter Townsend, who had a controversial romance with Princess Margaret.
Here’s Townsend in 1955, the same year he and Margaret reunited as a couple.
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.
Matthew Goode joined the cast as Margaret’s husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, in season two.
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.
Derek Jacobi played the former king for a single episode in season three.
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.
Here’s what Edward looked like in 1966.
He died in 1972 at the age of 77. He had last seen the Queen just 10 days before his death.
Lia Williams played American socialite Wallis Simpson, who became Edward VIII’s wife.
Simpson was divorced twice before she fell in love with the royal.
Williams looks remarkably like the real Wallis Simpson, pictured here in 1935.
Here’s a picture of the adorable royal siblings in 1952.
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 season two episode followed Prince Charles, played by Julian Baring, as he began attending the Gordonstoun School in Scotland.
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.
Here’s the real Prince Charles on his first day at Gordonstoun in 1962.
Josh O’Connor portrays an all-grown-up Prince Charles, the heir to Queen Elizabeth’s throne. He won a Golden Globe for his performance.
“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.
“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.”
Emma Corrin joined the cast in season four as Prince Charles’ wife, Princess Diana. She also won a Golden Globe for her performance in 2021.
“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 her performance as Diana.
Elizabeth Debicki will take over in season five.
Here’s the real Princess Diana in her wedding dress on 1981.
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.
Erin Doherty took over as the young adult Princess Anne in season three.
“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.”
Princess Anne turned 21 years old in 1971.
She entered public life at age 18 and has been an active member of the royal family ever since.
Emerald Fennell plays Camilla Parker Bowles, née Shand, Charles’ secret lover and future wife in seasons three and four.
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.
Charles Dance took over as Lord Mountbatten in season three and four.
Dance is recognizable for his role as Tywin Lannister in “Game of Thrones,” but he’s been acting for decades.
This is Mountbatten in 1969. He was assassinated 10 years later at the age of 79.
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.
Jane Lapotaire played Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Philip, in season three.
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.
Princess Alice became a nun later in 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.
John Lithgow played British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Anton Lesser played Harold Macmillan, the third prime minister in two seasons.
Lesser joined the cast in season two, after he took over for Eden. He later resigned at the end of the season.
This is the real Macmillan in 1960.
Macmillan was in office until 1963, when he resigned from a hospital bed. He lived another 20 years and died in 1986.
Jason Watkins was cast for season three as Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
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.
Here’s Wilson making a speech in 1967.
Wilson was prime minister from 1964 to 1970, and 1974 to 1976.
Michael Maloney played Prime Minister Edward Heath.
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.”
This is the real Heath giving a speech in 1970.
Heath was preceded and succeeded by Wilson, as Heath served as prime minister from 1970 to 1974.
Gillian Anderson joined the cast in season four as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.