The Crown Season Three: Everything You Need To Know

From who's playing who to the release date

Olivia Colman, The Crown

Photo: Netflix

Now that series two of The Crown seems but a distant memory, we’re eagerly looking forward to series three which will see Olivia Colman take over from Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth; Helena Bonham Carter replace Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret; and Tobias Menzies take on the role of Prince Philip, previously played by Matt Smith.

The last series – set in the late 1950s and early ’60s – explored the Queen and Prince Philip’s tumultuous relationship, as well as documenting the events that led to Princess Margaret’s wedding to Lord Snowdon. Season three jumps ahead to the 1970s when the Queen and Philip will be in their 50s, which is the reason for hiring an entirely new cast.

Here is everything we know about season three of The Crown so far…

THE CAST

Olivia Colman as the Queen

Olivia Colman, The Crown

Photo: Netflix

Replacing Claire Foy was never going to be easy, but the new casting for the older HRH is perfect – Olivia Colman will take on the role. “You can’t ask someone to act middle-aged,” said The Crown creator Peter Morgan. “Someone has to bring their own fatigue to it. The feelings we all have as 50-year-olds are different than the feelings we all have as 30-year-olds. That informs everything we do.”

Colman has already struck up a close relationship with Foy to prepare for the role – and admits to being a little nervous to take on the baton. “She’s fucking amazing and it’s a very difficult act to follow,” Colman told the Radio Times. “She’s one of the sweetest people ever and she’s brilliant.”

The first image of Colman in character has been released (above), showing her in a pink cardigan and drinking a cup of tea at her desk. The caption Netflix chose as they revealed it on Twitter was, “Patience”.

Related article: The Crown Season Three: Everything We Know So Far

Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret

Helena Bonham Carter, Princess Margaret, The Crown

Photo: Netflix

Princess Margaret has become the people’s favourite over the past two series, as Vanessa Kirby played her as an irreverent, progressive and sometimes vulnerable young woman who often feels trapped by her circumstances. Who better to portray her in middle-age than Helena Bonham Carter? The actress has already previously played the Queen Mother in the Oscar-winning film, The King’s Speech.

Bonham Carter looked just the part in the first image released of her as the princess, looking glamorous in a blue hat with her trademark cigarette in hand.

Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip

Tobias Menzies , The Crown, Prince Philip

Photo: Netflix

Ben Daniels as Lord Snowdon
Ben Daniels , Lord Snowdon, The Crown

Photo: Netflix, The Crown

Theatre actor Ben Daniels (who has also appeared in House of Cards) will play Princess Margaret’s husband, photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones, taking over from Downton Abbey‘s Matthew Goode. The image released shows him looking intensely down a camera lens.

Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles

Josh O’Connor, who fans might recognise as Larry in ITV’s The Durrells, will be taking on the role of Prince Charles in his late teens and early 20s.

“I am thrilled to be joining The Firm for the next instalment of The Crown,” said O’Connor. “Seasons 3 and 4 will follow some of the most turbulent events in the Prince of Wales’ life and our national story and I’m excited to be bringing to life the man in the midst of it all. I’m very aware it’s a formidably talented family to be joining, but am reliably informed I have the ears for the part and will fit right in.”

The series will likely follow Charles’ experiences at Cambridge University and look at his personal life – notably his fledgling early romance with Camilla Parker Bowles in the seventies. Charles didn’t announce his engagement to Diana until 1981 (when he was 32 and she was 19), so chances are we won’t see the late princess making an appearance until season four. 

Related article: All The Times The British Royal Family Has Been Portrayed On-Screen

Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles

Emerald Fennell ,Camilla Parker Bowles, The crown

Photo: Getty

While yet to be officially announced, early pictures from the set showed Call the Midwife actress Emerald Fennell recreating a famous scene between Charles and Camilla with Josh O’Connor, all but confirming that she’s landed the role.

Fennell’s acting credits also include The Danish GirlAnna Karenina, and Any Human Heart. The 33-year-old has also taken over screen-writing duties from Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Killing Eve‘s anticipated season two.

Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother 

Marion Bailey , the crown

Photo: Getty

Actress Marion Bailey is best known for her roles in films AlliedVera Drake and Mr Turner, the latter of which was written and directed by her partner Mike Leigh. She’ll be taking over from Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother.

“Wonderful to be joining The Crown,” said Bailey. “It’s a brilliant show and we have a tough act to follow but what a gift to be playing the fascinating and greatly loved Queen Mother. Thrilled to be on board and working with such a top notch team.”

THE TIME FRAME

Two producers of The Crown have both confirmed that season three will take place in the 1970s. Suzanne Mackie revealed at a BFI film event in 2017 that the latest series will introduce Camila Parker Bowles, who Prince Charles met at a polo match in 1971. The first series spanned eight years and season two covered seven years, so we can hypothesise that the latest installment will chronicle a similar period. This might mean we meet Diana, Princess of Wales, who Charles initially met in 1977, although creator Peter Morgan has said that the late princess would probably make her first appearance on the show in series four.

Prince Charles,Camilla Parker Bowles

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles in the early 70s’ at a polo match
Photo: Getty

“The Diana stuff… I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with her if I ever get that far,” Morgan told Vanity Fair. “I’ve mapped out what might be a third season. If she were to be introduced, it’d probably have to wait until the fourth.”

Related article: Kate Middleton’s Diamond and Pearl Necklace Is Seriously Historic

THE RELEASE DATE

Netflix hasn’t confirmed an exact release date for The Crown season three yet, but has said that it will be sometime in 2019. Trailers for the series typically debut a few months before the release date, so we probably still have a while before we see any insight into the show. For now, all we have is the released imagery.

THE PLOT

Aside from the blossoming relationship of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles (the two dated for three years between 1971 and 1973 before he left for the Royal Navy), viewers will also watch the demise of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s marriage. “In season 3, without giving anything away—it’s on the record, it’s history—we’ll see the breakup of this extraordinary marriage between Margaret and Snowdon,” The Crown‘s historian Robert Lacey told Town & Country. “This season, you see how it starts, and what a strange character, a brilliant character Snowdon was.”

Lord Snowdon ,Princess Margaret

Lord Snowdon with Princess Margaret in 1963
Photo: Getty

In other family upset, the Duke of Windsor – famed for absconding so he could marry divorcee Wallis Simpson – died in 1972. Simpson stayed at Buckingham Palace the night before the funeral, which we hope will be covered in season three.

In happier news, 1973 saw the wedding of the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, and in 1977 the monarch celebrated her Silver Jubilee – two events which will no doubt make for excellent television.

The Queen

The Queen at the Silver Jubilee in 1977
Photo: Getty

The ’70s are known as a particularly bleak period for the British public, characterised by strikes, power cuts and IRA bombings, presumably much of which will be documented in the next series of The Crown. In terms of politics, the ’70s called for reform across British institutions – including the monarchy. In 1971, the Queen Mother’s Civil List allowance came under scrutiny after it was requested that the number be increased from £77,000 to £95,000 – the reasons for which were never provided.

The royal family was attacked over the news and eventually the Civil List was fixed for the next 10 years. The divisive subject of how much the monarchy costs the public would be an interesting issue to see explored on the show.

Rounding off the decade in politics was Margaret Thatcher’s appointment as Prime Minister in 1979 – a huge moment in history that would make for an excellent finale episode.

This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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