What to expect from The Crown season five
Ewan Edwards briefs readers on what to expect this season and the potential backlash in the wake of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s death.
The hotly anticipated return of The Crown has faced criticism after the release of its trailer. The season will cover the late Queen Elizabeth’s notorious ‘annus horribilis’; three of her four children separated from their spouses, Windsor Castle, was engulfed by a fire causing extensive damage, and the royal household faced media scrutiny like never before. The Crown has not shied away from scandals in earlier seasons. But the 1990s is in much of the British population’s lived memory and is particularly emotive.
After HMS Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September, The Crown shot up the Netflix trending list; people became enthralled by the passing of this country’s longest-reigning monarch. No surprise then that the show’s Season 5 trailer, released October 20th, gained over nine million views in just over two weeks. It was the first time viewers saw Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth and Dominic West as Prince Charles, the show’s ability to get a stellar cast cannot be knocked. Regardless, the trailer has faced much criticism from journalists, with fellow actor Dame Judi Dench criticising the show for its “sensationalism”.
After HMS Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September, The Crown shot up the Netflix trending list
Much of this criticism could be attributed to increased sensitivity in the wake of the Queen’s death, with Netflix now clarifying that the show is “Inspired by real events”, perhaps to hide from the inevitable historical inaccuracy claims. This is uncharted territory for the critically acclaimed TV programme. The question now is whether it will sink or swim.
Whilst viewers know what history the season will cover, the trailer has shown what will dominate this season: the destructive relationship between Charles and Diana and the growing question of the relevance of a monarchy in a modern world. The trailer opens with a voiceover saying the royal family face a “genuine crisis”. Now, is this foreshadowing for the TV show itself?
In the 1990s, the scandalous breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage became a sort of aristocratic soap opera; who’s sleeping with who, whose baby is whose and who has somewhat inappropriate phone calls with who. However, the show may have overlooked the British people’s ability to hold a grudge. Some parts of the population will remember the “People’s Princess” and feel she was neglected and hung out to dry by the royal family. These voices will become louder as season five unfolds, and now, with Charles as King, the show has a real possibility of creating a backlash against our new monarch.
This season will re-enact part of her 1995 Martin Bashir interview in which she revealed that “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”
In the trailer, we also hear Diana (played by Elizabeth Debicki) saying, “I never stood a chance” this season will re-enact part of her 1995 Martin Bashir interview in which she revealed that “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”. Undoubtedly, this will garner severe backlash as it was only in May 2021 when Prince William, now himself Prince of Wales, said that “It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said.” Obviously, The Crown view it necessary to include this interview. Still, it will likely threaten the show’s legitimacy in the wake of Lord Dyson’s report finding severe responsibility breaches in obtaining the interview.
The trailer also includes glimpses of Princess Margret looking pompously over a ballroom and Prince Phillip, now played by Johnathan Pryce, who has given the late Prince a somewhat aloof look.
Season five of The Crown is currently streaming on Netflix, and will undoubtedly send shockwaves across the film and TV media.