The Crown Season 5 Cast: Meet the New Characters and Actors who discuss criticism

Let’s take a closer look at the new cast of The Crown and where you’ve seen them before:

The Crown’s Lesley Manville has defended the drama from criticism over its fictionalisation of events alongside real history and public figures by reaffirming that the series is not a “documentary”.

The Mrs Harris Goes to Paris actor – who is taking over from Helena Bonham Carter to play Princess Margaret in season 5 – said the story has to be “multi-layered” and ultimately “dramatically interesting” in order to captivate its audience.

“At the end of the day, you have to make a dramatic choice because we’re not making a documentary about the royals. It has to be dramatically interesting,” Manville said.

“You have to hold your audience, so your story has to have an arc. It has to have balance. And you can’t just tell one story, it’s got to be multi-layered. You’ve got to cover this multitude of characters, and serve them all.”

She continued: “The public is interested in all of them to some degree, some more than others, so you’ve got to spread it out. I’m not sure what he [creator Peter Morgan] left out, but I imagine that the agenda has to be that you’re making a drama, and you have to make that drama interesting, and give it peaks and troughs, and highs and lows, and balance.”

Dame Judi Dench has accused the series of “crude sensationalism” in an open letter in The Times, in which she also voiced her concern that some viewers “may take the show’s version of history as being wholly true”.

Dench added that an explicit disclaimer stating that it is a work of fiction should be added to each episode as a “mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years”.

When contacted for comment a Netflix spokesperson said: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.

“Season 5 is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II

We’ll see the Queen face her period of strongest criticism in season 5 of The Crown, covering events including her response to the death of Princess Diana and the multiple scandals of 1992, or her ‘annus horribilis’ as she famously described it. Previously played by Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton will play the Queen in series five and six.

A stage and screen veteran, Staunton is most recognised for playing Harry Potter baddie Dolores Umbridge, as well as her Oscar-nominated starring role in Vera Drake, plus BAFTA-nominated appearances in Return to Cranford and The Girl. For Doctor Who fans, she played the voice of Interface in 2011 episode ‘The Girl Who Waited’, during Matt Smith’s era.

Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip

Showing no signs of slowing down in his later years, in series five we’ll see Prince Philip develop a close friendship with Penelope Knatchbull, aka Lady Romsey, the wife of his godson.

Handing over the reins from Tobias Menzies, who in turn took over from Matt Smith at the start of series 3, Jonathan Pryce is another well-known name, best loved for his roles in Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomorrow Never Dies and his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Pope Francis in The Two Popes. He also played The Master in a 1999 Doctor Who short for Comic Relief.

Jonny Lee Miller as John Major

One of the most controversial plots in The Crown season five sees a fictional meeting between Prince (now King) Charles and then Prime Minister John Major plotting for the Queen to abdicate. The man himself has already described this as a ‘barrel-load of nonsense’.

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales

She nails Diana’s famed pout and coy glance but, at a towering 6ft 3ins – five inches more than the real thing – Debicki makes the Windsors look tiny. But maybe that’s the point.

Dominic West as King Charles

Here’s a Charles we could get steamed up about, talking tampons with Camilla, banging about thrusting change… But West’s resemblance to actual Charles is passing at best.

Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret

Manville’s Mags is a sad, shrunken version of the former party princess. It’s when she lets the Queen have both barrels about past misdemeanours that she looks the part.

Marcia Warren as The Queen Mother

The make-up department clearly had run out of wigs and the fab Marcia Warren looks more QD Stores than QM. But she gives the character a twinkly verve that brings her to life.

Olivia Williams as Camilla

Olivia Williams disappears so completely into Camilla that I actually thought Camilla was playing herself. Come on, you wouldn’t put it past her.

The Crown season 5 brings back Claire Foy for flashback cameo

Fans of Netflix’s The Crown might find themselves wondering if they’ve started playing the wrong episode when they sit down to watch season 5, as they will at first be greeted by a very different Queen than they imagined – one played once again by Claire Foy.

However, there’s nothing wrong with the episode. In fact the new season – which introduces Imelda Staunton as the Queen and the third actress to play the role – actually starts with Foy making a surprise cameo appearance.

The black and white intro to episode 1 shows a programme called The Queen in Scotland, documenting the Queen’s visit to John Brown’s yard on Clydeside in 1953, where she launched HMS Britannia.

In a speech for the ship’s launching ceremony, Foy’s Elizabeth says: “I am delighted to join you in Clydebank today for the launch of this, the latest royal yacht. I hope that this brand-new vessel, like your brand-new queen, will prove to be dependable and constant, capable of weathering any storm. I now take great pride in naming this ship Britannia.”

She adds that she wishes “success to her and to all who sail in her” before launching a bottle of Empire Wine. Following the singing of Rule Britannia, the footage then fades into colour and settles on an image of the older Queen, played by Staunton.

This opening scene sets up a major storyline for season 5 which sees the royal yacht in need of repairs, but new Prime Minister John Major asks Her Majesty to seek alternative funding arrangements rather than having them be Government-funded.

This is the second time Foy has returned to her role as Elizabeth II, after also making an appearance in a flashback during the eighth episode of season 4.

Ahead of the fifth season’s debut, new Prince Philip actor Jonathan Pryce argued that Foy and her Philip co-star Matt Smith “had it easy” in comparison to himself and Staunton, suggesting that in the early years, a lot of people saw it as simply a costume drama, whereas the Queen and Prince Philip are “so well known in the years we are playing them”.

The Crown season 5 will be released on Netflix on Wednesday 9th November 202

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Stevie Flavio
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