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The Crown: Actors vs. royalty

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Image by Netflix

The 90s: A culturally significant decade encapsulated by the rise of technology and the glamour of certain celebrities. Lots of good happened during this time, and the goodness continues to this day, as it is the time period that the new season of The Crown will depict. Have you heard of The Crown? If not, it’s a drama surrounding the lives of the Royal Family, especially focusing on the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. This show was a hit when it premiered, and it is loved by many, including myself. This spectacular show has been nominated for 423 awards and has won 129 awards, including 21 Emmys.

Despite this new season being highly anticipated, it has faced much criticism and controversy. For starters, many have slammed the series for the timing of the new season’s release, as it’s the first following the deaths of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip. Others have also criticized the series for some highly fictionalized aspects they are set to include. For example, it was revealed that this season would include a storyline in which Prince Charles tries to get Queen Elizabeth to abdicate the throne, which in reality, never really happened. Many feel as though the highly dramatized elements of the show will affect the popularity of certain Royal Family members. The events that are set to be depicted are also quite sensitive, the main one regarding the death of Princess Diana.

One thing the show is known for is its constant replacement of actors. Every two seasons, the cast has a full refresh. Why? Instead of using prosthetics and makeup, The Crown has opted for a more natural way of portraying age: A change in actors! Now, this being season 5, we have a new round of celebrities starring in The Crown. Would you like to meet them?

If you’d like to learn more about a particular actor, click on the “Where you’ve seen them before”/”Their comments on the role” subheadings, as links are embedded in most of them.

1. Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth

Where you’ve seen her before: Staunton famously played the part of Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies. More recently, she was in the Downton Abbey films as Maud Bagshaw.

Her comments on the role: “I knew it was a very heavy baton that was being passed over, so I had to try and match what had gone before.”

This time around, Imelda Staunton is responsible for portraying Queen Elizabeth II as this is the first season since her death. Judging from behind-the-scenes photos and the trailer, we know she’ll do great. Not to mention, she looks almost exactly like the late queen.

2. Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip

Where you’ve seen him before: Pryce is known for his role in the Netflix film The Two Popes, which earned him an Oscar nomination.

His comments on the role: “The positive experience I had making The Two Popes has given me the confidence to tackle the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip.”

Like Staunton, Pryce has the challenging task of depicting Prince Philip for the first time since his death. He has spoken out against the controversy surrounding the show, displaying his dedication to the part.

3. Dominic West as Prince Charles

Where you’ve seen him before: Famous for his role in the movie-musical Chicago, West is also known for his roles in the television series The Wire and Tomb Raider.

His comments on the role: “The only time I really look like Charles is from behind. 'Cause the hair is just perfect.”

The fifth season heavily focuses on the demise of then-Prince Charles' marriage with Princess Diana. So, West has a significant role in the series, as his portrayal of Charles can affect people’s viewpoint on the monarch. As West said, he does look like King Charles, with only a few facial differences.

4. Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana

Where you’ve seen her before: Debicki is an amazing actor, having many roles including some in Guardians of the Galaxy, The Great Gatsby, and Tenet.

Her comments on the role: “I went off instinct, and I didn’t overthink it…I knew I was stepping into working with people who were extremely intelligent and very sensitive about how they went about creating the script and making decisions.”

In this season especially, the part of Princess Diana is a sensitive one, so it was key for The Crown to cast someone that would gracefully, respectfully, and realistically depict Diana. I think they made the right decision, and the trailer perfectly displays that. I’d also like the mention the sheer similarity between Debicki and Diana! Like her predecessor, Emma Corrin, Elizabeth Debicki appears to have been able to encapsulate Diana’s mannerisms fully. We are truly excited to see her role.

5. Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker-Bowles

Where you’ve seen her before: Williams is known for some of her roles in The Ghost Rider, the horror movie The Sixth Sense, and An Education.

Her comments on the role: While she has not directly commented on her role, she said this about Queen Elizabeth II: “In an age when people don’t keep their word, the Queen’s kept her word. I have a profound respect for that.”

Having bravely battled a near-deadly case of pancreatic cancer, Williams is finally back, and with a big role at that! From what we have seen in the trailer, and with her wig and makeup, Williams is almost a carbon copy of the now-Queen Consort Camilla. While the person she is portraying is somewhat controversial, we can tell she will do an amazing job.

6. Marcia Warren as The Queen Mother

Where you’ve seen her before: Warren hasn’t had too many recent roles, however, she has been featured in the movies Leap Year and Vicious.

Her comments on the role: No comments have been made surrounding her role as of yet.

While The Queen Mother has been a regular character in the series, not much is known about Warren’s portrayal of her. We have, however, been able to see some paparazzi-snapped images of her in costume, such as the one above.

7. Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret

Where you’ve seen her before: Recently, Manville has been in the Maleficent movies and the films Let Him Go and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.

Her comments on the role: While not directly commenting on her role, Manville has said this: “After the Queen died, I know that people went back to watch the earlier seasons of The Crown because they wanted to feel that connection with Elizabeth, and I find that very touching actually.”

Playing Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, Manville has inherited the beloved role of Princess Margaret from Helena Bonham Carter. Margaret is a fan favorite due to her party animal-like behaviors and fun outlook on life. From behind-the-scenes images, we can tell that Manville will look a lot like the princess.

The new season of The Crown will be released tomorrow! Fans are dying in anticipation, and this season will truly be a great one. In terms of The Crown’s future, it is set to have a final sixth season, and rumors have been circulating about potential spin-offs. Whatever the case may be, this show has and will continue to make a lasting impression on the history of Netflix. Now, grab your popcorn, sit back, relax, and enjoy the penultimate season of The Crown.

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