Warning: Contains minor spoilers for season 3 of The Crown.
After two long years of waiting for a new season of Netflix’s The Crown, we’re less than a month away from new episodes—and a whole new cast. This season will also see more focus on the younger members of the royal family, and all the drama that comes with them.
Here are the answers to all of your burning questions about season 3 of the hit show.
When will it air?
The new season will premiere Sunday, November 17 with 10 new episodes.
Is there a trailer?
On October 21, Netflix dropped the first official trailer for The Crown. In it, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) wonders, “On days like today, ask yourself, in the time I’ve been on the throne, what have I actually achieved?” This happens on Jubilee Day, no less, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of the queen’s ascension to the throne.
Heartbreak appears to be a central theme of this season, with a conflict between Prime Minister Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins) and Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) appearing to be a major plot point. Protests loom as a political divide threatens to brand the royal family as obsolete. Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) continues to grapple with her role in the royal family and her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones (Ben Daniels) Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) will also play a bigger role in the new season.
Who’s in the new cast?
The main characters are being recast every two seasons (six seasons are planned in total) in order to depict them as they age. The whole cast is changing for season 3.
Netflix announced in October 2017 that Colman will replace Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in the third and fourth seasons. Colman won a Best Actress Oscar this year for The Favourite, and a Golden Globe in 2017 for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Night Manager.
On July 16, 2018, the first image of Colman as the Queen was released on Twitter.
Helena Bonham Carter will play Princess Margaret in seasons 3 and 4, after Vanessa Kirby played her for two seasons. Kirby teased the casting in January with a cryptic Instagram post of her self and Bonham Carter, with the caption “Honoured @thecrownnetflix.”
The first image of Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret was released on July 18.
“I’m not sure which I’m more terrified about—doing justice to the real Princess Margaret or following in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret,” Bonham Carter said in a statement. “The only thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be shorter than Vanessa.”
In March 2018, Deadline reported that Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip—previously played by Matt Smith—in season 3. The actor has signed on for two seasons; he’s known for his work in Outlander, Game of Thrones, and AMC’s The Terror. There was talk that the part would go to Paul Bettany (you may know him from the Marvel Cinematic Universe), but it was announced in late January that he could not take on the role due to a scheduling conflict.
The first image of Menzies as Prince Philip was released on August 28, 2018.
Prince Charles will make his first appearance as an adult in the third season. God’s Own Country actor Josh O’Connor joked about landing the role: “I’m very aware it’s a formidably talented family to be joining but reliably informed I have the ears for the part and will fit right in.”
Another character who will be introduced in season 3 is Camilla Shand (later Parker Bowles), Prince Charles’ eventual second wife. She will be played by Emerald Fennell, who is also the head writer on season 2 of Killing Eve. “I’m absolutely over the moon, and completely terrified, to be joining so many hugely talented people on The Crown,” Fennell said. “I absolutely love Camilla, and am very grateful that my teenage years have well prepared me for playing a chain-smoking serial snogger with a pudding bowl hair cut.”
Ben Daniels will play Antony Armstrong-Jones, a role played by Matthew Goode in the last season. Netflix released an image of him in the role in July 2018.
And taking over from Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother will be Marion Bailey (Allied).
Netflix also announced that Jason Watkins, of the British sitcom Trollied, will play Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the third season. Erin Doherty, of Call the Midwife fame, plays Princess Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Previously, the young version of Anne was played by Lyla Barrett-Rye.
What’s the time period?
Season 2 left off in 1964, and according to Town & Country, the third season will take place between between 1964 and 1977. It will reportedly portray the breakdown of Princess Margaret and Armstrong-Jones’ relationship before their 1978 divorce, which the trailer seems to confirm. It will also depict Harold Wilson’s time as Prime Minister, as well as Prince Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969. Other historical events that will factor into the third season include the Queen’s attendance at Winston Churchill’s 1965 funeral and the 1966 tragedy at Aberfan, which resulted in the loss of 114 Welsh children.
Viewers will also see the early beginnings of Prince Charles and Camilla Shand’s controversial relationship. In an August interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Peter Morgan teased, “People always assume Charles cheated on Diana with Camilla,” he told the outlet. “It’s absolutely the wrong way round. He was deeply in love with Camilla and forced to marry Diana.”
What about Princess Diana?
In 2016, People reported that season 3 will give us our first peek at Princess Diana, who is said to be a focus in later seasons of the show. However, it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer to meet the people’s princess on The Crown. On April 9, 2019, Netflix announced it had cast newcomer Emma Corrin to assume the role of Diana for the fourth season of the show. Corrin has had roles in Alex’s Dream, Grantchester, and the forthcoming movie Misbehaviour, in which she stars alongside Keira Knightley and Suki Waterhouse.
What do we know about season 4, though?
Gillian Anderson has signed on to play Margaret Thatcher. She confirmed the news in early September, saying, “I am so excited to be joining the cast and crew of The Crown and to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman. Thatcher was undoubtedly formidable, but I am relishing exploring beneath the surface and, dare I say, falling in love with the icon who, whether loved or despised, defined an era.”
She shared a photo of her trailer on set in late September. October brought the first sighting of the Emmy nominee dressed as the iconic figure.