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The monarchy will move forward with a whole new cast for season 3.
This article contains potential spoilers for The Crown season 3.
The second season followed the Royal Family through the scandals of the ‘60s, including the loss of yet another prime minister and Prince Philip’s inability to remain faithful to his wife. Princess Margaret finally got her fairytale wedding, and the Duke of Windsor—the Nazi sympathizer—was cast out the family once and for all.
Morgan has thankfully always planned for more seasons of the series, so fans of the show can expect to see the Royal Family age through the rest of the 20th century—just don’t get too attached to any of the cast.
On July 16, Netflix released the first photo of Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, which shows the queen wearing light pink, sitting at a table, and taking tea. The caption accompanying the photo on Twitter simply states “Patience.”
Here’s everything we know about The Crown season 3.
The Crown season 3 plot and news
Season 3 will pick up in the 1970s, according to Vanity Fair, instead of picking up where it left off in 1964 like it did in season 2. Lucky for fans who absolutely can’t wait until the next season to find out the fate of the Royal Family, everything needed to know can be found in a British history book (or the internet).
Producer Suzanne Mackie confirmed to Vanity Fair that the show will introduce Camilla Parker Bowles—Prince Charles’ second wife, who he dated before marrying Princess Diana—in season 3. Charles met Parker Bowles, then Camilla Shand, at a polo match in 1971 and dated her until leaving for the Royal Navy in 1973.
Additionally, The Crown’s history consultant, Robert Lacey, told Town & Country that season 3 will see the disintegration of the marriage between Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, which culminated in their 1976 separation and 1978 divorce.
The Royal Family will also reckon with a death in the family. The Duke of Windsor died in 1972 and the Duchess of Windsor is said to have stayed at Buckingham Palace ahead of the duke’s funeral, which would make for a very intriguing episode.
It’s impossible to talk about the lives of the Royal Family without tying in the Monarchy’s impact around the world, so it seems likely that the series will follow the rapid decolonization of Africa and the Caribbean that took place, resulting in over 20 countries breaking away from the Commonwealth.
The season will probably also follow the drama surrounding Parliament throughout the 1970s and focus on Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Margaret Thatcher becoming Britain’s first woman prime minister in 1979 would make a very appropriate season finale.
Fans got their first look at Helen Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret and Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong-Jones (aka Lord Snowden). Princess Margaret is caught in a moment of contemplation as she looks down at her cigarette while Lord Snowden has his camera on hand.
The captions from Netflix accompanying the photos read “Hope” for Princess Margaret and “Hurt” for Lord Snowden.
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The Crown season 3 cast
Bad news for fans of Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth: She won’t be a part of the series anymore. None of the original cast will be, actually. Morgan announced during the original making of the series that the cast will change every two seasons to allow the Royal Family to age appropriately.
“What’s so beautiful about Claire is her youth,” Morgan told Variety ahead of the first season. “You can’t ask someone to act middle-aged. Someone has to bring their own fatigue to it. The feelings we all have as 50-year-olds are different than the feelings we all have as 30-year-olds. That informs everything we do.”
So far, only the new Queen Elizabeth has been announced. Netflix announced 43-year-old Broadchurch star Olivia Colman will play the monarch for seasons 3 and 4.
“[Foy] said I’ll have a lovely time, everyone on it is amazing; the voice coaching is impeccable,” Colman told the BBC. “They were all amazing, so I’m just full of fear because you don’t want to be the one who screws it up. She’s lovely and she said I can call her anytime . . . I’m basically going to re-watch every episode and copy her.”
Helena Bonham Carter, the beloved actress from the Harry Potter franchise and several films with her ex-partner Tim Burton, is “all but confirmed” to play Princess Margaret in The Crown season 3, according to the Evening Standard. Princess Margaret’s relationship with Anthony Armstrong-Jones was a focal point of season 2, leading to some of its most sensual and scandalous scenes, and as mentioned above, season 3 will detail its unraveling.
The rest of the cast is still up in the air. Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip, told Seth Meyers he might know who will replace him, which means that the rest of the cast might be coming together soon.
“If it’s the person it could be, I was just totally flattered I thought, ‘How marvelous,’” he said. “If it’s the person I think it might be, and he’s incredibly handsome as well. I have morphed into someone far better looking than I.”
TV veteran Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones, Rome, Outlander, The Terror) has been cast to portray Prince Philip in season 3 of The Crown after Paul Bettany stepped away from negotiations with Netflix.
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The Crown season 3 release date
While season 2 aired just one year after season 1, the wait for season three will be a little longer, according to the BBC, which reports that The Crown season 3 will return in 2019. We’ll keep you posted when Netflix confirms a release date.
Need more ideas? Here are our Netflix guides for the best war movies, documentaries, anime, indie flicks, true crime, food shows, LGBT movies, gangster movies, Westerns, film noir, and movies based on true stories streaming right now. There are also sad movies guaranteed to make you cry, weird movies to melt your brain, old movies when you need something classic, and standup specials when you really need to laugh. Or check out Flixable, a search engine for Netflix.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.