After The Crown Season 3 arrived on Netflix last fall, fans have been eagerly looking forward to its fourth season—and the long-awaited arrival of Princess Diana. As the royal family enters the 1980s, fans can expect to see more of the Princess (and Prince) of Wales and the queen’s dynamic with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming episodes. Here’s everything we know about Season 4 thus far.
Related article: The Scandalous Photo of Princess Margaret That Inspired ‘The Crown’
1 | Season 4 will premiere on November 15.
The 10-episode season will drop on Netflix on Sunday, November 15 at 3 a.m. EST. The streamer made the announcement with the release of a new teaser trailer showing glimpses of Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) as they become intertwined with the royal family in the ’80s. Filming reportedly began in August 2019.
Watch the official teaser above, and the date announcement below.
2 | It will feature the same cast as Season 3.
The Crown production plans to re-cast the series every two seasons, so Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth II), Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip), and Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) will hold onto their leading roles through Season 4 of the show. See the complete cast of The Crown Season 3 here.
3 | Princess Diana will make her first appearance.
Princess Diana will make her debut in Season 4, played by up-and-coming actress Emma Corrin. “Beyond excited and honoured to be joining The Crown for its fourth season,” she said in a statement released by Netflix. “I have been glued to the show since the first episode and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is just surreal. Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. To be given the chance to explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity, and I will strive to do her justice!”
Creator Peter Morgan also weighed in on the casting choice in a statement through Netflix:
“Emma is a brilliant talent who immediately captivated us when she came in for the part of Diana Spencer. As well as having the innocence and beauty of a young Diana, she also has, in abundance, the range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman who went from anonymous teenager to becoming the most iconic woman of her generation.”
Corrin made an appearance in Season 4 of British TV show Grantchester in 2019. She also stars in the EPIX series Pennyworth and the forthcoming film Misbehaviour.
4 | Gillian Anderson confirmed that she is playing Margaret Thatcher.
On January 20, 2019, Deadline confirmed the news that Gillian Anderson will play British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of The Crown. Back in 2017, the UK Times reported that Season 4 would focus on the Thatcher years, while Season 3 would focus on Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
On September 7, 2019, Anderson confirmed the news via the official The Crown Twitter account. She wrote in a statement, “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.”
5 | Prince Charles plays a much larger role in Seasons 3 and 4.
Netflix announced in July 2018 that the show cast Josh O’Connor in the role of Prince Charles. O’Connor’s statement to Netflix hinted at his character’s trajectory throughout the next two seasons. “Seasons 3 and 4 will follow some of the most turbulent events in the Prince of Wales’s life and our national story and I’m excited to be bringing to life the man in the midst of it all,” he said.
O’Connor later told Vulture that Season 4 is “very much the Diana and Charles years, and particularly focusing on what happened there and the ramifications of that going forward.”
6 | There will be two more seasons.
Netflix’s chief content officer revealed in 2016 that Morgan originally pitched the series for a total of 60 hours. “The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter.
7 | Photos of Princess Diana and Prince Charles for the season have already leaked.
Images spread online showing Corrin and O’Connor shooting scenes for Season 4, where they appear to be recreating moments from Charles and Diana’s royal tour of Australia in 1983. One shot with Diana in a breezy white dress and Charles in a khaki ensemble references the duo’s visit to Ayers Rock in March 1983, while another scene of the princess wearing bright pink recreates a walkabout she had in Perth in April that year.
8 | Images of Margaret Thatcher have also surfaced.
Last October, fans got their first glimpse of Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Thatcher, AKA the Iron Lady. In true ’80s fashion, she was dressed in a cobalt blue skirt and blouse on a set that appears to resemble the Royal Yacht Britannia. The wig is extremely accurate.
Olivia Colman has already sung Anderson praises in her role as the prime minister, telling Entertainment Weekly, “She’s amazing. The moment she opened her mouth in the read-through, you could feel everyone wanting to do a little silent ‘Yay!’ Because she was so brilliant.”
9 | Season 4 feels less “historical.”
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Colman compared what it was like filming the third and fourth seasons.
“It’s interesting because, series 3, for me, was like doing a historical piece,” she said. “Now, it feels less like that and more, I remember that! I remember that voice! I remember that moment! It feels quite different. We had our read-through and to hear the voices of Margaret Thatcher and all of that, it’s quite fun.”
10 | Corrin’s portrayal of Princess Diana is so good it’s “spooky.”
While speaking to BAZAAR.com in November 2019, O’Connor shared an update of what filming Season 4 with costar Emma Corrin as Diana is like so far.
“I mean, there’s obviously nothing I can say about the story, but in terms of filming, we just had a great time, and Emma’s doing a brilliant job, and it’s breathtakingly accurate; she looked the spitting image [of Diana], and it’s kind of extraordinary,” he said. “So that’s kind of spooky.”
He also opined that the upcoming season of The Crown “will be the best yet.”
11 | Claire Foy may be making a cameo.
Foy, who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in Seasons 1 and 2, was replaced by Olivia Colman for the following two seasons; but she could still make another appearance in Season 4.
The actress was recently photographed in costume filming what looks like the queen’s 21st birthday speech in South Africa. The real-life address took place in 1947, years before her father King George VI died. Considering the show is no stranger to flashbacks, it’s possible Foy’s scene will be a memory of the queen’s that will have some relevance in the upcoming season.
12 | Prince William makes an appearance as a baby.
Paparazzi photos from set show that Charles and Diana’s firstborn, Prince William, makes his first appearance on the show as a baby. Images show a infant actor portraying the young prince in scenes recreating the royals’ trip to Australia, and a toddler-aged actor as the prince during a Buckingham Palace Easter Egg hunt years later.
The real-life Duke of Cambridge, however, does not watch the show.
13 | A Fleabag star is playing Prince Edward.
Angus Imrie, who portrayed Creepy Jake in Fleabag, has been cast as a young Prince Edward in Season 4 of The Crown, according to Harper’s BAZAAR UK. The actor is the son of acting legend, Celia Imrie.
14 | Production ended early due to coronavirus.
As film and TV productions took a halt in March 2020 due to coronavirus precautions, Deadline reported that The Crown is continuing its final week of filming for Season 4. Its production company, Left Bank Pictures, “simply [needs] to tie-up loose ends on the series,” according to the outlet.
However, Metro.co.uk confirmed soon after that the show wrapped filming early. “The Crown has now completed principal photography on season 4 having pulled the final shoot date forward by a few days,” a spokesperson told the outlet.
15 | Some scenes went unfilmed due to changes in the schedule.
There were two more weeks of shooting left to be done when The Crown halted production due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Peter Morgan decided to stop then and there rather than wait to resume filming and ultimately delay the Season 4 release.
“For the final block, one director [Jessica Hobbs] was filming three separate episodes,” Morgan told IndieWire. “A couple of scenes were missing from each one. Having looked at them, we [could] just about get away with it. She will forever rue not being able to shoot them. The price of waiting would have meant to not get the show out on the same schedule. And nobody to whom I’ve shown the episodes can tell what’s missing. I’m really relieved.”
In one instance, the team was supposed to film an avalanche scene in the Alps for a week—for an episode literally titled “Avalanche”—but they were unable to get on planes at the time. So the crew made some adjustments and “slightly recut” the episode to make it work.
“It works metaphorically now,” Morgan added. “It’s less a story about what happens in the Alps and more what happens in the aftermath. We had to be willing to adapt and rethink and complete things.”
16 | It will include tensions between Charles and Diana on tour in Australia.
O’Connor’s recent cover story with Esquire UK reveals that a scene from Season 4 includes Charles being “comprehensively outshone by his incandescent young wife” during their 1983 tour of Australia.
“‘I don’t deserve this!’ he whines, through perennially gritted teeth. ‘This is supposed to be my tour.’ (Di, incidentally, from the very few minutes I’ve seen, looks a cracker: Corrin seems to have captured spookily that odd mix of shy and calculating, the blameless assassin with the razor-sharp simper.)”
17 | It will also include Charles and Diana’s royal wedding.
The first teaser trailer teases the Prince and Princess of Wales’s royal nuptials in 1981. Though we don’t get a full view of the extravagant ceremony, we do see Diana, from behind, wearing her famous wedding gown.
The costume is actually an exact replica of the original, as Princess Di’s original wedding dress designers, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, lent the patterns to The Crown for reference. The measurements were then adapted for Corrin’s figure.
“We were filming the scene when you first see her in the wedding dress—I think it was Lancaster House in London—and I had a team of about 10 people helping me put it on, because it’s massive,” Corrin recalled. “I walked out and everyone went completely silent.”
Watch this space for updates.
This story first appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.