Odds are good you’ve heard everyone buzzing about The Crown – but if you’ve never seen it, you might be wondering first, what it is, and second where you can watch it.
To answer the first question, the critically-acclaimed show follows the life and times of the British royal family, specifically through the lens of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Season 1 begins in 1947 and finds the queen ascending to the throne following her father’s death, marrying her husband, Prince Philip, and dealing with the resignation of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Each season deals with a decade at a time, with the fourth and latest season depicting the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, as well as the conflict between Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
As for the second question, there’s only one place to watch The Crown in all of its costume-drama glory, and that’s on Netflix.
The story behind The Crown
The Crown first aired in November 2016, but creator Peter Morgan’s creative works featuring the royal family go back at least a decade. Morgan is the writer of the 2006 film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II and follows her in the days after Princess Diana’s tragic death. In February 2013, Morgan debuted his play The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre in London. The subject matter? The weekly audiences Queen Elizabeth II held with her prime ministers over the course of five decades. The Queen? Once again played by Helen Mirren.
So it likely comes as no surprise that Morgan would tackle Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in such a large, encompassing way. In fact, when the show first aired on Netflix, Morgan already had the first three seasons completely mapped out (via The Guardian).
For The Crown, Morgan teamed up with British writer and director Stephen Daldry. The two traveled to the U.S. expecting to find a global partner for the BBC in the UK. Instead, what they found was a £100 million offer from Netflix for the first two seasons alone. It is, to this day, allegedly one of the most expensive television shows ever made (via Business Insider).
Six seasons (no movie)
In January 2020, Morgan made news when he told Deadline that although he had originally planned for The Crown to last six seasons, he now thought five was a good place to stop. However, Morgan has once again reversed on this, stating in July that there, in fact, will be a sixth season of The Crown (via Elle).
However, for those of you hoping you’ll therefore get grown-up portrayals of William and Harry, as well as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, sadly, Morgan is holding firm that isn’t in the cards for the show.
“To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail,” he told Deadline.
As for the biggest question of all — how does the royal family feel about The Crown — well, like the monarchy itself, it’s complicated. Queen Elizabeth II allegedly started out as a fan, watching Season 1 with her youngest son, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. However, her view of the show has reportedly evolved over time, becoming dissatisfied with how it depicted Prince Philip in Season 2, and sources likening Season 4’s depiction of Prince Charles and Princess Diana to a “reality show” (via Oprah Mag). Given that Season 5 (or 6) is likely to cover Princess Diana’s tragic death, odds are the royal family’s dissatisfaction will only grow.
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