Netflix dropped the first trailer for season 5 of The Crown on Thursday, giving a first look at Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II. But who are we kidding? Most viewers’ focus will be on Elizabeth Debicki, Diana, Princess of Wales, and to a lesser extent, Dominic West as her hapless hubby, Prince Charles (now King Charles III).
The Crown has finally reached the tumultuous 1990s, a decade that saw three of the queen’s four children divorce, a fire at Windsor Castle that destroyed 115 rooms, and Diana’s death in a Paris car crash. The trailer begins with the queen staring in dismay at her beloved home in flames, then cuts to her standing inside the rubble.
But it’s Diana and Charles who really started the fire, so to speak, as their dissolving marriage, and Charles’ affair with now-Queen Camilla Parker-Bowles, make headlines and cause plenty of royal arguments behind palace walls. It’s difficult for any actor to play such familiar faces, and Debicki can’t make you forget she’s not Diana, but she sure looks like her from certain angles. And West, perhaps still most famous for playing all-American detective Jimmy McNulty in The Wire, has Charles’ general look down, even if he seems much stronger and more confident than the now-king.
The trailer is set to The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony, which came out in 1997, a few months before Diana died. There’s a moving scene of Diana floating alone in what appears to be a palace pool, and a shot of her in her famed “revenge dress,” worn the day Charles admitted his adultery in a televised interview. The trailer also re-creates Diana’s controversial 1995 interview with the BBC’s Martin Bashir — both the broadcaster and Bashir have since apologized for faking documents to convince her to do the interview.
“She opens her mouth, and hand grenades come out,” says actor Prasanna Puwanarajah as Bashir.
There are also glimpses of Charles and Camilla kissing, of Lesley Manville who’s taken over the role of Princess Margaret, of a worried young Prince William.
“How did it come to this?” asks a beleaguered Staunton as the queen. (I mean, maybe don’t insist your son marry a woman he barely knows who’s just out of her teens, and let him choose his own bride in his own time, even if she has to get divorced first. The royals seem to have learned that lesson now, and Charles and Camilla do seem happy, but it’s much too late for poor Diana.)
If fans of The Crown were wondering if the show was going to hold back on the Charles-Diana drama, the trailer seems to have answered that question with a royal “NO.”
This is the first season of the Netflix show to be released after the deaths of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip. Season 5 of The Crown premieres on Nov. 9.