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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Matlock

Netflix’s “The Crown” debuts its first season back after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II

Photo via Netlfix

After four successful seasons, Netflix’s critically acclaimed series The Crown premiered its fifth season on November 9th. Season five is the series’ first season back after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in early September of this year, as well as the passing of her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in April of 2021.

Back with an all-new cast, this season consists of 10 episodes and focuses on a dark period for the British monarchy and the heavily publicized divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

For those who are new to the series, The Crown debuts an entirely new cast every two seasons in order to show the time that has progressed. This season, Queen Elizabeth is portrayed by Imelda Staunton, who avid Harry Potter fans may recognize as the film series’ Dolores Umbridge.

Princess Diana, as played by actress Elizabeth Debicki, looks to be almost a carbon copy of the late princess on screen. Previously played by Emma Corrin in season four, Debicki plays a visibly hurt Diana, while also showing her matured and independent side as she famously exits from her relationship with the Prince of Wales.

Portrayed by Dominic West, Prince Charles makes himself known as the next heir to the throne, and at the same time, is strengthening his extra-marital relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Episode four titled “Annus Horribilis” tells the story of the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II’s 40th anniversary of being sovereign, and the reuniting of Princess Margaret and her first love, Peter Townsend. This episode was eerily beautiful and heartbreaking, with the Queen shedding tears over her family home going up in flames, along with the emotional goodbyes exchanged between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend which left me in tears.

The tenth and final episode, titled “Decommissioned”, was slightly unexciting, but closed the series in a way that leaves the audience wondering what will happen next with Diana and Charles’ life after divorce.

As a fan of the series, I really enjoyed this season and Debicki’s portrayal of Princess Diana had me in a chokehold. Although, previous seasons of The Crown such as seasons one and two, which featured Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Matt Smith as Prince Philip, portrayed the enigmatic chemistry between the two, which this season lacks due to The Queen and Prince Philip becoming older.

The new actors do a great job at carrying on their characters story and personalities, but it seems to be the storytelling that lacks magic in this season. Understandably, the early seasons of the series are exciting and telling of a young new Queen on the throne, and as time goes on and the series progresses, that newness fades even as new characters are introduced such as Diana in seasons four and five.

As for season six of The Crown, it is rumored to be the final season of the series and filming is currently underway. The upcoming season is set to tell the story of the monarchy from the late 90s to the 00s, including events such as the deaths of Princess Diana in 1997, and Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth in 2002.

It is hopeful that the previous eleven-time Emmy Award-winning series will snag a few more in the upcoming award season with Elizabeth Debicki’s outstanding performance of Princess Diana. Season four’s Emma Corrin, who played the young and newly married Diana, won Best Actress in a Television Series Drama at the 2021 Golden Globes.

Those who are either fans of fictionalized biopics or the British monarchy are sure to enjoy this series, and season five definitely delivered the essence of the people’s princess to the big screen.


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