It has been months since The Crown’s Season 4 landed on Netflix, and many of us managed to watch all ten episodes in a single day. This, of course, means that we now have nothing to sustain us until the fifth season. We have a long wait: while many key players have been cast – Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip – the full royal flush has yet to be confirmed, and filming has not yet begun.
A 2022 release is expected, so we most likely have more than a year to wait if Netflix stick with the usual autumn launch. It’s plenty of time for speculation, and allows us to take stock and think about what we want from the show’s next – and final – chapters. Here’s what’s on our wish list…
We couldn’t believe how little we saw of Sarah in Season 4. Her real-life friendship with Princess Diana was ripe for exploration. With any luck, she’ll be more of a fixture in Season 5 - she was amidst plenty of drama in the '90s - and hopefully we’ll get to see young Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie too.
Less Margaret Thatcher
Season 4 drew to a close in 1990, with Thatcher tendering her resignation and leaving Downing Street. But Season 5 could bring her back for a farewell, much like Season 2 did with Winston Churchill.
We are not here for it: as tempting as it would be to get Gillian Anderson back in her wig, and as much as The Crown’s writer Peter Morgan might want to get his girlfriend back on set for a day or two, Thatcher’s arc is complete. Good riddance.
A Complete Focus on The Queen’s ‘Annus Horribilis’
Hear us out. While previous seasons have bridged decades – Season 4 went from the late Seventies all the way to 1990 – we think Season 5 should be completely dedicated to 1992. There was so much drama that The Queen herself referred to it as her ‘Annus Horribilis’ – which means ‘horrible year’.
1992 is when Prince Andrew split from his wife, Sarah Duchess of York,with controversial pictures of Sarah on a beach with a male friend making the front pages. It's when Princess Anne divorced her husband Mark, and when Charles and Diana finally, quietly separated. It was the year the explosive book Diana: Her True Story was released, and when private tapes of Diana’s conversations with her close friend James Gilbey were leaked. Worst of all, 1992 saw the horrific fire at Windsor Castle.
Dedicating an entire season to a year of such tumult would be a hugely interesting step, and would ensure that all of this action would get the attention it deserved. It would also mean that Season 6 could explore the five remaining years of Princess Diana’s life, which brings us to our next request…
A respectful treatment of Diana
Season 4 is fascinating. We loved it. But our hearts broke for Diana every single time she was ignored, rejected and manipulated. It made us realise that, actually, we don’t think we want to watch a show that takes us up to her tragic death and its aftermath. We don’t want to see Charles tell his sons that their mother isn’t coming home. We don’t want to see his first meeting or phone call with Camilla after the news breaks. If Season 5 can slow down a bit, then Season 6 can dedicate itself to Diana’s post-split life – the charity work, the love affairs, the Panorama interview – bringing Season 6 to an end on that fateful night in August of 1997.
It would also, simply, be a neat way to end things: Peter Morgan has already explored the death of Diana and its aftermath in his Oscar-winning film, The Queen. Surely he wouldn’t want to do it all over again? Yes, he has hinted at wrapping things up in the early Noughties, but he also recently changed his mind about cancelling Season 6, so perhaps there's room for a shift.
That’s it, for now. We will surely come up with more in the year – perhaps years – of waiting. Peter Morgan, we hope you’re listening!
Can't wait? Find out everything you need to know about the next season here.
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