The Crown (TV series)

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The Crown
Series 4
Aired 4 November 2016 -
17 November 2019
Genre Historical Drama
Created by Peter Morgan
Written by Peter Morgan
Staring Various (see bellow)
Country of Origin England

The Crown is a historical drama television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, created and principally written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. The first season covers the period from 1966 to 1976, includes Prince Victor’s assassination, Prince Albert’s death from cancer, Edward Heath’s first premiership, Edward VIII’s death, Queen Elizabeth’s surprise ascension to the throne and the Mountbatten coup. The second season spans 1976 to 1984 and includes Edward Heath's second tenure as prime minister and Prince Charles's marriage to Lady Diana Spencer. The third season spans from 1984 to 1998 and includes Roy Jenkins’ and Shirley Williams’ times in office as well as the Troubles, the unification of Ireland and Lord Mountbatten’s death. The fourth season spans from 1998 to 2009 and primarily focuses on the disintegration of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage as well as introducing the corrupt charmer John Major as Prime Minister and the Queen’s uneasy relationship with one of his successors, Charles Kennedy. The Queen comes down against the military in a potential second coup on parliament.

For each of the two-season increments, new actors fill the roles to reflect the ageing process over the periods of time portrayed. Olivia Coleman portrays the Queen in the first two seasons, alongside Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. For the third and fourth seasons, Imelda Staunton takes over as the Queen, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret. Also starring is Josh O'Connor and Dominic West as Prince Charles, Emma Corrin and Elizabeth Debicki as Lady Diana Spencer and Michael Maloney as Edward Heath. Filming takes place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with location shooting throughout England and internationally. The first season was released by Netflix on 4 November 2016, the second on 8 December 2017 and the third and fourth on 17 November 2019. As of 2019, the estimated production budget of The Crown has been reported to be $260 million, making it one of the most expensive ever television series.

The Crown has been praised by critics for its acting, directing, writing, cinematography, and production values, though its historical inaccuracies have received some criticism, particularly within the second season. It has received numerous accolades, including a total of sixty-three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for its four seasons, winning twenty-one, including Outstanding Drama Series for its fourth season, and seven awards for the cast. The series has also twice won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Drama, at the 74th and 78th ceremonies.

Premise[edit | edit source]

The Crown portrays the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the assassination of Prince Victor in 1966 until the failed coup d’etat in 2009.

The first season depicts events up to 1976, with Lord Mountbatten promising the Queen a transition to democracy and the Queen's sister Princess Margaret separating from Antony Armstrong-Jones.

The second season covers the return of democracy in 1976, leading to the re-election of Prime Minister Edward Heath; the assassination of Prime Minister Peter Walker in 1982, following the failure of the Falkland War; and the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1982.

The third season covers 1984 to 1998, beginning with Roy Jenkins's election as prime minister and ending with Silver Jubilee in 1997 and the Handover of Hong Kong also covering the unification of Ireland and the Troubles.

The fourth season is set predominantly during the premierships of John Major, Stephen Dorrell (who is only mentioned) and Charles Kennedy from 1998 to 2009 and also focuses on the separation of Charles and Diana and ends with the Queen refusing to support a second military coup against a Prime Minister this time not suspected to have communist links.

Cast and characters[edit | edit source]

  • Olivia Colman (seasons 1–2) and Imelda Staunton (seasons 3–4) as Queen Elizabeth II
  • Tobias Menzies (seasons 1–2) and Jonathan Pryce (seasons 3–4) as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Helena Bonham Carter (seasons 1–2) and Lesley Manville (seasons 3–4) as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Derek Jacobi as King Edward VIII (season 1)
  • Michael Maloney as Edward Heath (seasons 1–2)
  • Marion Bailey as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (seasons 1-4)
  • Charles Dance as Louis, Earl Mountbatten of Burma (seasons 1-3)
  • Harry Treadaway as Victor, Prince of Wales (season 1)
  • Jared Harris as Prince Albert, Duke of York (season 1)
  • Geraldine Chaplin as Queen Thelma (seasons 1-2)
  • Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon (season 1)
  • Jason Watkins as Harold Wilson (season 1)
  • Erin Doherty as Princess Anne (seasons 1–3)
  • Josh O'Connor (seasons 1-2) and Dominic West (seasons 3-4) as Charles, Prince of Wales
  • Paul Bentley as Peter Walker (season 2)
  • Jonny Lee Miller as John Major (season 4)
  • Emma Corrin (season 2) and Elizabeth Debicki (seasons 3-4) as Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles (seasons 3-4)