Warning: SPOILERS for The Crown season 3.
The Crown season 3 covers a lot more time than the previous seasons, jumping through many years and a number of major world events. Created by Peter Morgan, Netflix's prestigious drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II returns with a new cast replacing Emmy winner Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and Vanessa Kirby. In The Crown season 3, Academy Award winner Olivia Colman is the new Queen Elizabeth, Tobias Menzies plays Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Helena Bonham Carter portrays Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
The Crown season 1 spanned 1947 -1955, from Elizabeth's wedding day, her crowning at Queen after the death of her father King George VI (Jared Harris) in 1952, the new Queen's relationship with her Prime Minister Winston Churchill (John Lithgow), to Princess Margaret's decision not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend (Ben Miles). The Crown season 2 covered the years from the Suez Crisis in 1956 to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964 but it also depicted Queen Elizabeth problems in her marriage to Prince Philip, her disappointments with Prime Ministers Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam) and Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser), and the wedding of Princess Margaret to Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon (Matthew Goode).
The Crown season 3 takes place from 1964-1977, which is the biggest span of time the series has depicted thus far. Most of the season covers the 1960s, starting with the election of Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins) as the new Prime Minister in 1964 to the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. The final three episodes of season 3 dash through the 1970s, with several time jumps covering the death of the former King Edward VIII (Derek Jacobi) in 1972, the beginning of Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) and Camilla Shand's (Emerald Fennell) long-lasting relationship, and the collapse of Princess Margaret's tumultuous marriage to Lord Snowdon. The Crown season 3 ends in 1977 with Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee marking 25 years of her reign.
While The Crown season 3 was recast with more mature actors to reflect the characters' middle age, the fact that the new season picks up in the same year that season 2 ends is a bit jarring for fans since everyone is now suddenly visibly older - but this transition is handled with sly wit in Olivia Colman's very first scene as the new Queen. Here is a breakdown of what events each episode of The Crown season 3 covers.
- Episode 1 - "Olding" is set in 1964 and covers the election of Harold Wilson as Prime Minister as well as the exposure of Sir Anthony Blunt (Samuel West) as a KGB spy.
- Episode 2 - "Margaretology" covers Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon's 1965 tour of the United States where they met President Lyndon B. Johnson (Clancy Brown) at the White House.
- Episode 3 - "Aberfan" depicts the Aberfan, Wales mining disaster of 1966 when hundreds of people, including schoolchildren, were killed by a collapsing colliery spoil tip.
- Episode 4 - "Bubbikins" is about the Royal Family making a 1967 documentary to boost their image as Princess Alice of Battenberg (Jane Lapotaire), Prince Philip's mother, comes to live at Buckingham Palace.
- Episode 5 - "Coup" is about Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance), Prince Philip's uncle, becoming embroiled in a 1968 plot to overthrow Prime Minister Harold Wilson's Labour government while the Queen indulges her love of racehorse management.
- Episode 6 - "Tywysog Cymru" centers around Prince Charles' 1969 trip to Wales to learn the language and culture before his investiture as Prince of Wales.
- Episode 7 - "Moondust" is set in 1969 and depicts the Apollo 11 moon landing as well as Prince Philip's midlife crisis as he meets with the astronauts during their visit to Buckingham Palace in October.
- Episode 8 - "Dangling Man" jumps into 1972 and is about the final days of Edward VIII as he dies from cancer in his exile in Paris as well as his relationships with Prince Charles and the Queen.
- Episode 9 - "Imbroglio" takes place from Prince Charles meeting Camilla Shand in the early 1970s to the government's stalemate with mine workers that led to nationwide power cuts in 1974.
- Episode 10 - "Cri de Coeur" spans the 1973 meeting between Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn, their multi-year affair, and ends with the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977.
The Crown Season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.