The Crown Season 3 Netflix release date, cast, and story

Her Majesty The Queen is back — and she is looking very different. Netflix's historical-fiction saga The Crown has changed its entire royal family cast in their third installment, premiering Season 3 in 2019. Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress Claire Foy will be passing her Queen Elizabeth II crown to Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman

Show creator Peter Morgan hinted at this cast-changing decision even before the Season 1 premiere. "You can't ask someone to act middle-aged. Someone has to bring their own fatigue to it," Morgan told Variety. "The feelings we all have as 50-year-olds are different than the feelings we all have as 30-year-olds."

In August 2019, Netflix revealed the long-awaited release date of Season 3 of The Crown — the show's new season will premiere on Sunday, November 17. Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter how the series will most likely have a total of six seasons, chronicling the royals' whereabouts through current times. Before we step into Buckingham Palace for more Lilibet drama, here's all we know about the upcoming season. Alright, release the royal corgis!

Who is in The Crown's new Season 3 cast?

Deadline first announced the new recasts in 2017, with news of Colman taking over as Queen Elizabeth. In 2018, The Crown tweeted that award-winning actress Helena Bonham Carter would play Princess Margaret, filling in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paul Bettany was supposed to step in as Prince Philip, formally played by Matt Smith. But due to scheduling conflicts, Outlander's and Game of ThronesTobias Menzies, was cast instead. Also, The Exorcist's Ben Daniels will take over Matthew Goode's role as Princess Margaret's husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

The supporting cast, according to Deadline, will include Josh O'Connor, who will play Prince Charles, and Marion Bailey, who will portray Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Charles Dance will also play Lord Mountbatten. (FYI The Crown shares the same casting director as Game of Thrones.)

This season will star Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter, Princess Anne, played by Erin Doherty, and Camilla Shand (known as Camilla Parker Bowles), played by Emerald Fennell

According to Harper's Bazaar, the new cast will take after their predecessors and only star in seasons three and four.

Season 3 of The Crown takes place in the early 1960s and late 1970s

The Crown's first season documented the time before Elizabeth's father, King George VI, passed away, and through her early reign years, concluding in 1955. The second season started in 1956 and focused on Elizabeth and Philip's tumultuous marriage and the budding romance between Margaret and husband-to-be Antony Armstrong-Jones, capping the season in early 1963. 

Vanity Fair previously speculated that the series would time-jump to the 1970s. But based on Variety's reports, the new season will allegedly cover the years between 1964 to 1976. According to Deadline, this season may include the space race, the rise of Beatlemania and other British Invasion groups, and England winning the FIFA World Cup in 1966. 

However, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Colman disclosed how the new season would unfortunately not get into the Beatles' world domination, but will cover the 1976 Montreal Olympics, which Elizabeth helped open. Fingers crossed we'll find out which royals experimented with psychedelic drugs.

Current events confirmed to appear in Season 3 of The Crown

Several set photo leaks and tip-offs disclose various current affairs that will be explored in season three. Hello! magazine spotted Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth) and Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) in all-black attire, allegedly filming Prime Minister Winston Churchill's funeral. According to Hello! magazine, during his funeral service, Elizabeth apparently "broke royal protocol by arriving before the coffin and the Churchill family, when traditionally the monarch is the last person to enter a service." 

Daily Mail also published a photo of Tobias Menzies (Prince Charles) and Colman filming an episode focused on Sir Anthony Blunt, the queen's art historian who turned out to be a Soviet spy. Production filmed the 1972 Battle of Saltley Gate, too, according to Daily Mail.

Colman did confirm in Vanity Fair that the series would reenact Queen Elizabeth's 1972 state visit to France. Based on a New York Times report, the visit marked British's entry into the Common Market. However, according to the Times article, "the final hour of the visit was marred by a bomb scare at the British Commonwealth military cemetery here, where the queen laid a wreath at the war memorial."

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip mend their relationship in Season 3 of The Crown

The Crown's second season delved into the Queen and Prince Philip's marriage woes. Did the Duke of Edinburgh cheat on our sovereign with a ballerina? It's not certain. Is Philip really an insecure man-child in real life? Hopefully not. But the show's Season 2 finale ("Mystery Man") seems to foreshadow calmer waters for Elizabeth and Philip's relationship. In the episode's end scene, temporary chaos ensues as the Mountbatten-Windsors scramble together for a group portrait. Philip shouts at everyone to pay attention, and Elizabeth silently grins and holds his hand. 

Also, according to Olivia Colman's Vanity Fair interview, the couple has "gone into a much steadier phase in the 1960s. They're older, more mature." However, viewers haven't seen the last of Philip's meltdowns. According to Radio Times, Tobias Menzies, who plays Philip in Season 3 and 4, said the show acknowledges the Apollo 11 moon landing, which ultimately rips Philip into a mid-life crisis. "Philip gets very absorbed by the heroism of these men compared to what maybe he hasn't done with his own life," Menzies told Radio Times.

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon's marriage crumbles in Season 3 of The Crown

Britain in the 1960s ushered in mop tops, social change, and heartbreak — the latter specifically pointing to Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones' tattered union. The show's history consultant Robert Lacey confirmed in Town & Country how viewers will witness "the breakup of this extraordinary marriage."

The Telegraph reported how Armstrong-Jones was allegedly "too much his own man to walk two paces behind his wife." According to the same article, their marriage's demise started shortly after the birth of their second child, Lady Sarah. The main culprit of their downfall? Infidelity — and lots of it. 

Journalist Clive Irving, a friend of Armstrong-Jones, wrote a piece for The Daily Beast exploring the royal split. "By tacit understanding between them, both [Antony and Margaret] moved from lover to lover, confident that the gossip columns would not expose them." Daily Express released set photos of at least one affair that will make it onto the show — Margaret and her younger boyfriend, Roddy Llewellyn.

This scandalous marriage facade came to a head when Margaret and Armstrong-Jones separated in 1976 and divorced in 1978, the first divorce of a royal since King Henry VIII's in 1540.

Season 3 of The Crown dedicates an episode to the Aberfan disaster

Over the past two seasons, viewers have seen Elizabeth deal with historic devastations, including London's Great Smog, the Suez Crisis, and John F. Kennedy's assassination. In Season 3, BBC reports the show will depict the Aberfan disaster, wherein nearly 28.3 million gallons of slurry (a coal and water mixture) descended on the Welsh village of Aberfan. The tragedy, which History calls "one of the United Kingdom's worst mining disasters," killed 116 children and 28 adults, according to the BBC. Set photos were released by Daily Express showing Olivia Colman (Elizabeth) in a near-identical outfit of the queen's during her 1966 visit to the nearly destroyed and downtrodden town. 

The episode's director, Benjamin Caron, told the BBC, "Peter Morgan, the writer and showrunner, and I thought this was a story we wanted to tell. And that we wanted to do that with truth and dignity, and also to make sure that it is never forgotten." Based on BBC reports, production decided against filming in Aberfan, but instead filmed at Big Pit National Coal Museum in neighboring Blaenavon. The crew also interviewed Aberfan locals "to ensure the drama treats the community with respect."

Prince Charles hits the limelight in Season 3 of The Crown

Episode 9 of Season 2 ("Paterfamilias") spotlighted young Charles, who "was sensitive from the start," according to Vanity Fair. The magazine shared how the show truthfully depicted his traumatic time at Prince Philip's alma mater, the Gordonstoun school, where he was relentlessly bullied, mistreated, and was "the start of an ordeal that he viewed as nothing less than a 'prison sentence."

The new season will chronicle the king-to-be's whereabouts in his teens and through his twenties, while he grapples with his inevitable destiny as a monarch and how he deals with always being in the public's eye. One Charles milestone we will see is his royal investiture, which formally honored him with the title Prince of Wales. Entertainment Weekly leaked set photos of Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) and Charles (Josh O'Connor) during its filming.

Vanity Fair also revealed that during this time period, Charles "dated a lot — taking the advice of his father's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who advised the prince to sow his wild oats while single before marrying a virgin." Lord Mountbatten's advice sounds grossly objectifying, but it will be interesting to see if the young prince does have a flirting style.

Season 3 of The Crown introduces Camilla Parker Bowles

Team Di fans, brace yourselves, because you're about to throw some shade at your TV! Deadline confirmed socialite Camilla Shand (yes, that Camilla!) enters the royal family's world this season. The future Duchess of Cornwall may be introduced during the polo match where she allegedly first met Prince Charles in 1970. Other reports cite they actually met through a mutual friend in 1971, according to E! News. No matter how they found each other, this notorious coupling didn't get their happy ending until 35 years later.

"I absolutely love Camilla, and am very grateful that my teenage years have well prepared me for playing a chain-smoking serial snogger with a pudding bowl hair cut," Emerald Fennell said in a Netflix tweet, revealing that she will portray a young Camilla. Fennell is also known for her work off-screen as the head writer on Killing Eve season two. 

People shared a set snap of Camilla (Fennell) and Charles (Josh O'Connor) reenacting a scene from a famous photo of the couple after they initially split, before Shand married Andrew Parker Bowles. Fun fact: According to Vanity Fair, Parker Bowles briefly dated Charles' sister, Princess Anne, before getting married to Shand.

Princess Anne will play a much bigger role in Season 3 of The Crown

The queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, will have a richer arc in the coming season. Anne, played by Erin Doherty in Season 3, was originally second-in-line for the throne. According to People, she is "a frugal, hard-working, tough-as-nails royal." Known for her prize horseback riding skills, Anne inherited the queen's passion for horses so much so that she skipped university in order to advance her equestrian career, E! News reported. 

What can we expect from Princess Anne this season — other than refreshing spunk? The Crown will likely include her wedding to champion rider Mark Phillips in 1973. At 23, she was the first child of the queen to get married. She was also the first royal to compete in the Olympics. She was on the British equestrian team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. In the second day of her event, she fell off her horse, suffered a concussion, but got back up and finished the course anyway, according to the Montreal Gazette.

We may also see her 1974 attempted kidnapping. According to E! News, the perpetrator ordered Anne out of the car, to which she allegedly replied, "Bloody likely."

Season 3 of The Crown brings more global drama spanning different continents

While watching the show, viewers get a taste of the many globetrotting obligations the royal family ventures on — such as the South African trip in Season 1 (which was actually filmed in South Africa, according to IMDb). Where will the Windsors travel to this season? 

According to Olivia Colman's interview with Vanity Fair, the queen will be in Versailles, France, visiting French President Georges Pompidou. This is also allegedly confirmed by Digital Spy, who shared images of Colman in front of a French flag. Likewise, Vogue guesses she may go to Africa, since the final decolonization of African nations happened around the same time period.

Daily Mail published set photos of Ben Daniels and Helena Bonham Carter on set in Galicia, Spain, reenacting Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret visiting Los Angeles (during the princess' first visit to the U.S.), where, according to the Telegraph, she allegedly offended a handful of Hollywood starlets, including Judy Garland and Grace Kelly. Forbes reported how production transformed a conference center in the Spanish town of Torremolinos into "a 60s airport for a scene of the British sovereign arriving on an official visit."

The Crown's sets are getting a facelift in Season 3

According to the Daily Mail, the show is allegedly "the most expensive television series ever made — with the first series costing $100 million." Variety also disclosed how each episode costs about 5 million pounds ($7 million) to produce. However, show creator Peter Morgan begs to differ. "There's no way any of us are going to plead hardship, but none of the rumors of our budget are true," he told Variety. "It's perfectly healthy, but there are many, many television programs with larger budgets."

With that said, Variety reported how the show's production company, Left Bank, extended their Elstrees Studios sets to rebuild new Buckingham Palace gates and exteriors, including its iconic balcony, where the royals wave to the crowds during momentous occasions. It will also redo the set for Parliament's 10 Downing Street offices. Sketches for the update included "an aerial view of Downing Street with a Rolls Royce pulling up," according to Variety. Additionally, Variety shared how new streets were labeled "Belgravia Street and Central Street" and one "marked as bomb-damaged."

Season 3 of The Crown covers Parliament's Wilson era

Netflix tweeted that award-winning actor Jason Watkins would play Labour Party leader Harold Wilson, who served as Prime Minister for nearly a decade combined, from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. The Independent shared that at 48, he was the youngest prime minister to take office in 70 years. 

The Guardian detailed how he oversaw progression and "paved the way for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, legalised abortion and promoted women in politics, that pursued full employment and built homes at the rate of 400,000 a year." Based on the same Guardian article, Wilson also "kept Britain out of the Vietnam war."

Wilson had a good rapport with the queen, according to the Telegraph, and described his meetings with her as "the only times when he could have a serious conversation, which would not be leaked, with somebody who wasn't after his job." He also reportedly "kept a photograph of himself with her in his wallet until it almost disintegrated."

Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister, won't be introduced until Season 4, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Will Princess Diana be in Season 3 of The Crown?

The short answer: no. In an interview with Vanity Fair, show creator Peter Morgan shared that "it'd probably have to wait until the fourth [season]." Casting director Nina Gold also confirmed this. (You'll just have to wait one more year, Diana fans! Harper's Bazaar thinks Season 4 will premiere in 2020.) This would make sense, since Vanity Fair pointed out how Diana Spencer didn't meet Charles until 1977, outside Season 3's timeframe, when he was dating her older sister Sarah.

Playing the future Princess of Wales is newcomer Emma Corrin, who Morgan described to The Hollywood Reporter as a "brilliant talent" with the "innocence and beauty of a young Diana" and the "range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman." Corrin said in a Netflix tweet, "Princess Diana was an icon and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring . . . I will strive to do her justice." 

Yahoo! News reported an interview with Season 3's queen, Olivia Colman, where the actress revealed that the third season wrapped in February 2019 and confirmed that Season 4 would start filming in August 2019. 

The actress playing the queen on The Crown will finally get her due with equal pay in Season 3

Just because you portray history's longest-reigning monarch, doesn't mean you are safe from society's unjust gender pay gap. In 2017, Variety revealed how Claire Foy, Season 1 and 2's Queen Elizabeth, made approximately $40,000 per episode — less than her costar and on-screen husband, Matt Smith. At the 2018 INTV Conference, Variety reported that Left Bank creative director Suzanne Mackie confronted the controversy and confirmed that Smith did indeed make more than Foy because of his Doctor Who fame. 

"We are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a rebalancing of the industry's treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes," said The Crown producers in a statement published on Screen International. "We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled."

Mackie added that production would fix this disparity starting with Olivia Colman's season. "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen," Mackie said at the conference, covered by Variety. Nevertheless, long live the queen — and may she cash in that fat paycheck!

What is The Crown Season 3 release date?

Mark your calendars and stock up on your Pimm's cup ingredients. Netflix revealed Season 3 will premiere Sunday, November 17. The network's official Season 3 teaser zooms in on Olivia Colman as middle-aged Queen Elizabeth — complete with a stunningly dramatic and vulnerable royal stare. Americans can rejoice that the new episodes will drop just in time for a Thanksgiving holiday binge.  

Colman's solemn expression in the teaser brings up one of the challenges she faced while portraying Elizabeth. Colman shared with Vanity Fair that unlike Elizabeth, who was trained all her life to be "a rock for everyone," she typically expresses her own emotions in a theatrical manner. The fix? Colman wore an earpiece onset that reported shipping and wind forecasts for the British Isles coastlines — all said in a soothing tone. 

"Whenever anyone is telling me something sad, which just makes me cry, they give me [the] earpiece," Colman shared in Vanity Fair. "I'm sort of not listening to what [the other actors are] saying. I'm trying so hard to tune into the shipping forecast and not cry."