As more and more streaming services pop up, Netflix carries on, pumping out more original content than most viewers can keep up with. One of their most lauded series, The Crown, profiles the life and trials of current reigning British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The first two seasons focused on her early reign, from her marriage to Prince Phillip, her coronation, and much more.
The Crown is currently in post-production on its third season, and fans are eagerly awaiting another chunk of British Drama to devour. Unlike past seasons though, season three of The Crown will come with more changes than ever before. With updated casting and a turbulent era to cover, it is sure to be quite the adjustment to previous seasons. Before the episodes drop, do some research to learn everything you need to know on season three of The Crown.
Perhaps the most crucial thing to understand about this new season is that most of the prominent characters from the first two seasons have been recast. That means Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, and more will not be reprising their roles. It is a shame to lose such incredible talent, especially from Claire Foy who won the Emmy for her performance as Queen Elizabeth.
But, where one door closes another opens. Season three has assembled some of the most talented British actors to take the reigns from these younger performers. It makes far more sense to recast than to attempt the often dodgy move of using aging prosthetics. Taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth is none other than Oscar Winner and all-around National Treasure Olivia Colman. The part of Prince Phillip will be played by Game of Thrones alum Tobia Menzies, and all around superstar Helena Bonham Carter will play Princess Margaret.
As stated, the first two seasons covered the early years of Elizabeth's reign. Season one specifically focused on her wedding day in 1947 to 1955 and the resignation of Churchill as Prime Minister. The second series followed soon after, beginning with the Suez Crises of 1956 up to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. There was a lot to cover in this nearly twenty year period, but that was only the beginning.
Season three will begin in 1964, similarly following in the immediate footsteps of season two. It will then conclude in 1976. Unlike previously, this will be the longest span of time covered by a single season (twelve years to be exact). There is a lot to cover in this period and more than enough to keep audiences hooked.
While the monarchy remains the same, the role of Prime Minister is ever-shifting. Throughout the first two seasons, audiences witnessed four men hold the title of Prime Minister, including Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, and Alec Douglas-Home. With this upcoming season, fans can look forward to only keeping up with two.
Although this new era in time will be longer than any other season, only two different men held the title: Harold Wilson and Edward Heath. Wilson held the position twice, similarly to Winston Churchill. A Yorkshire native, Wilson was known to be a down-to-earth gentleman, which the Queen valued immensely. The two had a strong bond of respect, which will be a welcome dynamic to watch come this new season.
One of the most prominent world events spread throughout the whole series is the slow but steady decolonization of African colonies. The Queen has and continues to be passionate about Britain's commonwealth, but the transition between Colonial Britain and the idea of the commonwealth was not an easy one. Obviously, the Suez Crises was a direct link to the heated feelings of colonialism, but come this season full decolonization will be a significant plot point.
By 1968, all but one of the British African Colonies were granted independence. The process of withdrawal, especially in southern and eastern nations, was anything but smooth. Following independence, civil wars plagued many of the countries. It will be fascinating to see how decolonization will hang over the actions of the monarchy and government.
The Crown is not only a time capsule for British history but world history as well. The first seasons documented some of the most significant moments of the 20th century. Perhaps one of the most memorable of these episodes was Dear Mrs. Kennedy from Season two. This episode detailed the period shortly before and after the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Serving as a baseboard for both historical drama and gender politics, the episode revealed a new lens to view the historical moment.
Season three will seemingly follow this trend. Tobias Menzies, who will take the reigns of the role of Prince Phillip, has gone on record that an upcoming episode will heavily feature the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Tobias stated that "Philip gets very absorbed by the heroism of these men compared to what maybe he hasn't done with his own life." It's this blend of the historical with the personal that makes The Crown so unique.
The Cold War will be in full swing by the time of season three of The Crown. This era of espionage affected the Soviet Union and the United States primarily, but both of these nation's allies played roles as well. Britain had an entire network of intelligence officers working on spying on the Soviets, but the Russians had their moles embedded in the UK too. One spy, in particular, was none other than an employee of the royal family.
Anthony Blunt, a renowned art historian and eventual Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, was actually a spy for the Soviet Union. In 1964 he confessed to the Crown and MI5 that he had been a member of the Cambridge Five, a selection of professors who doubled as Communist spies during the '30s and '50s. Somehow the Queen allowed him to remain in his post until Margaret Thatcher exposed his past to the public. This scandal is sure to play a part in the upcoming third and fourth seasons.
Princess Margaret is a fascinating and complicated character in the series. Her radically free-spirited nature was a constant issue among the royal family, and audiences saw much of it throughout the first seasons. Whether it was her scandalous romance with Peter Townsand or her heated and modern marriage with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, Margaret was anything but traditional.
If audiences thought that marriage would calm Margaret, they have another thing coming. Margaret held an affair with the much younger Roddy Llewellyn for many years before being exposed by paparazzi in 1976. Afterward, her even more scandalous divorce rocked the royal family and added more fuel to the fire that was Margaret's reputation. We are sure to see the beginnings of such scandal throughout season three.
One of the most shocking moments in the history of the British Royal Family was the abdication of Edward VIII's throne. To marry his divorced lover Wallis Simpson, Edward gave up the throne, creating public scandal. This was not the last of it though, as his comments towards his family and his Nazi filled past continued to plague the Royal Household.
Season three will see this come to an end though. By 1972, Edward succumbed to throat cancer and passed away. Shortly beforehand, the Queen visited the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at their home in Paris. Since Edward held such a presence in the first two seasons and remained a prominent figure in the life of the Queen, his poor health and death will surely be a key point in the upcoming season.
The Crown has featured performers playing a multitude of famous historical figures. From Winston Churchill to Jackie Kennedy, nearly all of the who's who of 20th century political life has featured on the show (if they met the Queen that is). Season three will feature even more, including the future Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles.
Two prominent figures who will not appear this season though are some of the most iconic British figures of the 20th century. Both Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana will not show up in season three. That being said, both characters have already been cast for season four of The Crown. The X-Files' Gillian Anderson has been picked up to play Thatcher, and newcomer Erin Corrin will play Diana Spencer. Fans will have to wait just a bit longer to see these two historical women grace the screen.
Prince Charles and his role as the heir is the arc that the whole show has been leaning towards. Charles role became far more relevant come the second season, as he failed to acclimate to Prince Phillip's alma mater of Gordonstoun. As the series will progress, Phillip's journey as the future heir will become a crucial point.
This season we will see his coronation as Prince of Wales, a defining moment for the young monarch. With this, his budding romance with Camilla will also be explored. The stepping stones that will be placed in season three will be incredibly important moving forward, as he will soon learn the ropes of ruling as well as lie at the center of much controversy.