As highly controversial as it is genius, Netflix’s The Crown has again taken careful consideration with every detail in its sixth and final season. The new season pays homage in equal measure to the legacies of Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II.
The real story behind the fairytale has captured viewers and critics alike. Since the series first premiered in 2016, The Crown has become a record-breaking phenomenon with 423 awards nominations and 129 wins throughout its first five seasons.
Before the new ten-episode season, The Crown accumulated 69 Emmy nominations across five seasons, with 21 wins across four seasons. Season four became the first drama to sweep all seven major categories at the Emmys in 2021, and the fourth season also made history as Netflix’s first Emmy win for Best Drama.
The series also garnered 27 BAFTA nominations and 19 Golden Globe nominations with seven wins. Many series tend to lose steam over seasons, but not The Crown. Season five spent six weeks on the Netflix Global Top 10 English TV list and reached the Top 10 in 88 countries.
As new seasons are released, Netflix sees a boost in viewership of previous seasons, which then return to their rightful place in the streamer’s Top 10 lists.
Netflix will release season six in two installments. Part One (four episodes) premieres on November 16, and Part Two drops on December 14 with the final six episodes.
The first part of season six, which spans 1997 to 2005, delves into the weeks leading up to Princess Diana’s death. The story also details the immediate aftermath and the long-term ramifications that followed.
Elizabeth Debicki reprises her role as the Princess of Wales, and her performance is impeccable; she’s perfected the late Princess’ voice and mannerisms. The season opens with her tragic death on Aug. 31, 1997, and flashes back to the final weeks of her life as she enters a new relationship with Dodi Fayed. The viewer gets to witness their relationship as it blossoms.
The new season will also cover Prince William as he tries to integrate back into life at Eton after his mother’s death. At this time, the monarchy has to ride the wave of public opinion surrounding the death of Princess Diana and Charles’ now open love for Camilla Parker Bowles. As all of this is happening, the Queen reaches her Golden Jubilee. She reflects on the monarchy’s future with the marriage of Charles and Camilla and the beginnings of a new Royal fairytale in William and Kate.
The new season’s first episode is helmed by Alex Gabassi, with longtime director Christian Schwochow taking over for episodes two, three, and four. In an interview with Netflix’s Tudum, Schwochow described the episodes he directed as “a three-part tragedy” and warned they are very different than any other episodes in the 60-episode series. “They are almost like a thriller.”
Based on an award-winning play, The Audience, by showrunner and writer Peter Morgan, this Netflix original chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times. It also delves into the lives of the many heirs of the British royal family.
Morgan has taken great care with all 60 episodes to ensure each is a masterpiece. He and his team pioneered how they told this story, including casting. It was a bold, never-before-seen creative decision to change the cast every two seasons, and in so doing, the series made massive stars out of new, emerging actors and known names.
Including Debicki’s return, the cast for season six is incredible. Imelda Staunton returns to reign as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce returns as the Duke of Edinburgh, Lesley Manville returns as Princess Margaret, Dominic West returns as Prince Charles, Olivia Williams returns as Camilla Parker Bowles, Claudia Harrison returns as the Princess Royal and Bertie Carvel reprises his role as Prime Minister Tony Blair (he first appeared in the final episode of Season Five).
Also returning are two integral characters to the arc of the final season. Khalid Abdalla returns as Dodi, the oldest son of Mohamed al-Fayed. Now a successful producer of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, he explores a relationship with Diana after his father encourages him to join them on holiday in southern France. Salim Daw is back as Dodi’s father, Egyptian magnate Mohamed al-Fayed, who set his son up with the late Princess.
A significant part of Abdalla’s interest in the role initially was that Morgan gave the Fayeds “equal space to the other characters in the royal family so that they’re given the dignity of a full story,” he told Netflix’s Tudum. “I can tell you from my position as an actor of Egyptian and Arab descent, it’s a huge honor to take on that space because it’s not a space that we get often.”
Two new young actors joining the cast are Rufus Kampa as Prince William in his early teenage years and Fflyn Edwards, who plays young Prince Harry.
Cast from past seasons gave award-winning performances, including Claire Foy, Josh O’Connor, Vanessa Kirby, Emma Corrin, Ed McVey, Meg Bellamy, and Olivia Colman. A few may also return this season, though the streamer has not confirmed this to be true.
The final season is expected to pay homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II by featuring all three actresses who have portrayed her over the seasons. Foy played her in seasons one and two, Colman took over in seasons three and four, and Staunton portrays the Queen in seasons five and six. All three performances are flawless.
In June, The Independent reported that in addition to a return of all three actresses who have portrayed the Queen thus far, there will also be a young newcomer joining the cast.
Per the article, a new young, pre-coronation version of the Queen will be played by Viola Prettejohn. If this is true, it appears that Part One is an homage to Princess Diana and Part Two is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II.
For fans needing a refresher on seasons one to five, Netflix released a brilliant recap.