God save the queen, because The Crown is about to put Queen Elizabeth II through the worst year of her life.
Netflix has released a trailer for the upcoming fifth season of the Emmy-winning drama — debuting Wednesday, Nov. 9 on the streamer — and it finds Elizabeth (now played by Imelda Staunton) and the rest of the British royal family in complete disarray as the storybook marriage between her son Charles (Dominic West) and Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) comes to a very public end. Charles wants “a more modern monarchy,” he says, but Elizabeth sniffs: “I don’t think it’s my behavior that’s threatening its survival.” Indeed, we see Charles reconnect with old flame Camilla as Diana bemoans the strain that royal pressures and the media glare have put on her: “People will never understand how it’s really been for me… I never stood a chance.” She sits down for an infamous TV interview as she declares: “I won’t go quietly… I’ll battle till the end.” (The mournful cover of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” is a nice touch, too.)
Season 5 marks another cast changeover for the royal biopic: Staunton takes over for Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II. Jonathan Pryce steps in as Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, with West and Debicki as Charles and Diana. The new cast also includes Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker-Bowles and Jonny Lee Miller as UK Prime Minister John Major.
The Crown last aired in November 2020, with Season 4 pulling off a rare feat, winning the Emmy for best drama series along with wins in all four major acting categories for Colman, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. The series now takes on a fresh significance as well with the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who died last month; production on Season 6 of The Crown was paused “out of respect” for the monarch’s legacy.
Press PLAY above for a sneak peek at Season 5 of The Crown, and then hit the comments to share your first impressions.