In just under a week, The Crown’s fifth season will be upon us. More than a lot has changed since 2020 when The Crown Season 4 was released. The cast members have swapped over again, the series has been called out on its accuracy, and two of the real-life subjects of The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, have passed away.
With all that in mind, you’re probably in need of a recap of what even went on in The Crown Season 4. We’re here to help, so have broken down all the key information you need to know about going into The Crown’s fifth season.
The Crown recap: What do you need to remember from season 4?
Charles and Diana
A lot of The Crown’s fourth season focused on Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.
We tracked their relationship from their first meeting through their whirlwind romance (which included a trip to Australia!), their extravagant wedding and the birth of their two sons. All the while, we also saw Charles continue his flirtation with Camilla Parker Bowles, a married woman herself, who was Charles’ confidante throughout the season.
Towards the end of the season, we began to see the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage. Diana struggles with her public image and the pressure of fitting into the royal family, which leads to an eating disorder and depression. Charles is still devoted to Camilla, try as he might to say he isn’t. They both end up becoming unfaithful, which leads to Elizabeth attempting to force reconciliation between them at Christmas.
Things end with Elizabeth refusing Charles’ requests to divorce his wife, and Philip giving Diana a stern warning about keeping her marriage together.
What’s happening with the rest of the royal family?
While Charles maintains the focus for a lot of The Crown Season 4, Queen Elizabeth’s other children are also grown and with their own problems, let’s recap.
Anne is married with children, although admits she’s had an affair and feels inferior due to the popularity Diana receives from the public.
Prince Andrew is serving in the Royal Navy but makes his mother nervous with his romantic entanglements and interests, which lean to the provocative side. He ends up marrying Sarah Ferguson.
The Queen’s youngest, Edward, is being bullied at boarding school and has poor grades, but is growing to become quite an arrogant and vengeful man despite this.
As for Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret, she has a smaller role in Season 4, but it is still a significant one. Margaret is continuing to live a life of glamour, wooing men and attending parties. She learns she has been stripped of her role as Counsellor of State in order for Edward to be deputized.
A Margeret-focused episode sees the royal deal with her mental health concerns, and she uncovers two new family members who were hidden away in a mental hospital due to their conditions to maintain the public perception of the royal family.
Prince Philip, meanwhile, appears more as a sidepiece throughout the season, appearing occasionally to be a sounding board for the Queen or his children.
Who was Prime Minister?
The Crown’s fourth season picks up in 1979, which saw Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, move into power.
Played with utter brilliance by Gillian Anderson, Thatcher’s stern and unforgiving personality clashes with the Queen. One of the joys of this season is seeing their relationship grow from something that is cold and conflicted to one that is filled with a quiet and deep respect.
Thatcher is eventually forced to step down from her role, after 11 years in power, when her party turns on her. Following this, the Queen bestows upon her the Order of Merit.
Did anyone die?
The most significant death depicted in The Crown’s fourth season was that of Lord Mountbatten.
Played by Charles Dance, Lord Mountbatten’s assassination was depicted in the first episode of the season. The man had been a father figure to Charles up until the point when his fishing boat was blown up by the IRA.
What about us?
The Crown may be about the British royals, but as part of the Commonwealth, we, and by we, I mean Australia, have actually appeared a couple of times throughout the series.
To recap, this happens most significantly in Season 4 Episode 6, where Charles and Diana’s royal tour of Australia is put under pressure, both because of their marriage and for political reasons, as Aussie PM Bob Hawke voices ideas of turning the country into a Republic.
The creatives on The Crown pulled off some technical wizardry to recreate the royal’s tour, and it’s actually an insightful episode about our history, particularly over the republic vs commonwealth debate.
There are still a few days if you want to smash out a binge-watch of The Crown Season 4 before the new episodes drop. If not, hopefully, this guide has caught you up to speed.
The Crown season 1-4 are available to stream on Netflix now. The fifth season will be released on November 9.
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