Peter Morgan’s The Crown, a fictional show about Queen Elizabeth II and the British monarchy, is back with a fifth season. The Netflix series arrives on November 9 barely two months after Elizabeth’s death and amidst renewed attention on the new king, Charles III, and his estranged son Harry.

The fifth season sees cast changes, led by Imelda Staunton taking over from Olivia Colman as the queen. The official synopsis: “As Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) approaches the 40th anniversary of her accession, she reflects on a reign that has encompassed nine prime ministers, the advent of mass television and the twilight of the British Empire. Yet new challenges are on the horizon. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the transfer of sovereignty in Hong Kong signals a seismic shift in the international order presenting both obstacles and opportunities. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing closer to home.

“Prince Charles (Dominic West) pressures his mother to allow him to divorce Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), presenting a constitutional crisis of the monarchy. Rumours circulate as husband and wife are seen to live increasingly separate lives and, as media scrutiny intensifies, Diana decides to take control of her own narrative, breaking with family protocol to publish a book that undermines public support for Charles and exposes the cracks in the House of Windsor.

“Tensions are set to rise further, as Mohamed Al Fayed (Salim Daw) arrives on the scene. Driven by his desire for acceptance of the highest order, he harnesses his self-made wealth and power to try and earn him and his son Dodi (Khalid Abdalla) a seat at the royal table.”

Imelda Staunton in The Crown (2022). Courtesy Netflix.

The cast includes Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret and Jonny Lee Miller as former British Prime Minister John Major.

Major has already criticised the season, which reportedly includes a sequence in which Charles lobbies Major’s character to force the Queen into abdication. Major has described the fictional conversation as a “barrel-load of nonsense”. Royal watchers have similarly questioned the show’s timing, pointing out that it comes too soon after the Queen’s death and only adds to the tabloid frenzy surrounding Harry’s break from the family.

The Crown season 5 (2022).