The first photos of The Crown‘s highly-anticipated season 5, featuring Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and Dominic West as Prince Charles, has just been released to the delight of fans worldwide.
According to Variety, season 5, which started production in the United Kingdom last month, features Debicki as the princess through the early 1990s and West as her estranged husband.
Debicki takes over from Emma Corrin, who played Diana in season 4 when she met and married a young Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and dealt with the stress of worldwide fame. Diana struggled with an eating disorder and had an affair of her own with James Hewitt (Daniel Donskoy) after learning of Charles’ extra-marital romance with Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennel).
Fans might recognise Debicki from Christopher Nolan’s Tenet or as Ayesha in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Alice in Widows, while West recently appeared alongside Lily James in mini-series The Pursuit of Love. He is also in the middle of filming Downton Abbey 2 and Call My Agent (UK).
The duo will be joined in season 5 by Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter) as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) as Princess Margaret and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary) as John Major.
Viewers believe that season 5 will likely see the royal family through the Queen’s so-called “annus horribilis” in 1992, during which three of her four children separated from their partners – including Prince Charles and Diana – as well as the public revelation of Charles and Camilla’s affair and the publication of Prince Andrew’s wife Sarah Ferguson sunbathing topless with a male friend.
It is unclear whether season 5 will stretch to include Diana’s 1997 death in a fatal car crash or whether that must wait until season 6, which is said to be their final season. Producers have also declined to say whether they will depict a re-enactment of the crash in the show.
For a while, it was believed that season five would be The Crown‘s last, with the creator and writer of The Crown, Peter Morgan insisting that he did not want to get too close to modern times. But, DigitalSpy reports that it was later announced that a sixth season would be coming after all.
“As we started to discuss the storylines for series five, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons,” he explained. “To be clear, series six will not bring us any closer to present-day – it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail,” Morgan confirmed.