The Crown recap: Here’s where we left the royals at the end of season two

Katie Rosseinsky
Photos By: Coco Van Oppens Photo

After a two year wait and a complete cast change, the​ third series of The Crown lands on Netflix on Sunday (November 17).

Starting in 1964 and finishing in 1977, the year of Elizabeth II's silver jubilee, the new episodes span a turbulent political - and personal - period for the royal family.

As well as exploring era-defining events like the Aberfan disaster, the miners' strikes and the Apollo 11 mission, the series will touch on the breakdown of Princess Margaret's marriage and the early stages of Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla Shand.

Thanks to the two year break between series, and the speed at which The Crown rattles through royal history, you might feel in need of a refresher on the events of series two.

Before the show returns to our screens with a brand new cohort of small screen royals, here's where we left the characters at the end of the second season...

The Queen

Reigning: Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II ()

As the Queen grows in confidence in her first decade on the throne, weathering geopolitical disasters such as the Suez crisis, series two also saw Elizabeth deal with considerable tumult in her private life.

Sick of being made to feel humiliated by rumours of Philip’s dalliances with other women, she confronted him over his alleged affairs in the final episode. By the time the season finished, she was also a mother of four, giving birth to her youngest son Edward in the show’s closing scenes.

Prince Philip​

Acting up: Matt Smith as Prince Philip ()

Still struggling to find his place in the royal establishment, Prince Philip’s bad behaviour (boozy lunches with the ‘Thursday Club’ and an infatuation with a ballet dancer) stepped up a gear in series two - though receiving the shiny new title of Duke of Edinburgh helps mollify him a little.

In the last episode, writer Peter Morgan took a flight of fancy and embroiled the Duke in the Profumo affair, as he was photographed attending a party hosted by osteopath Stephen Ward (remember this, as it’ll prove important in the first episode of series three).

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones

New romance: Matthew Goode as Antony Armstrong-Jones and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret (Alex Bailey / Netflix)

After her doomed romance with Peter Townsend was thwarted by scandal-averse royal courtiers, Margaret eventually finds a match in photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones - but there’s a cloud looming over her happily-ever-after

Tony, the Queen learns after asking her aides for some due diligence on her new brother-in-law, is still embroiled in a series of affairs with other men and women. Never one for a confrontation, Elizabeth chooses not to tell her sister and the wedding goes ahead, with Philip walking Margaret down the aisle in place of her late father.

As the series closed, we saw the Princess and Tony (now Lord Snowdon) join the Queen and Prince Philip for a family portrait, posing with their young children David and Sarah.

Prince Charles

Sensitive: a young Prince Charles in The Crown (Alex Bailey / Netflix)

Packed off to Gordonstoun boarding school at his father’s insistence - despite the Queen’s suggestion that her sensitive son will be better suited to Eton - Charles struggled to find his feet at an institution that seemed to value physical feats over academics. Philip, a Gordonstoun alumnus himself, was particularly unimpressed to watch Charles fail to complete the school’s annual cross country race (to which he has been invited back to hand out medals). Our last glimpse showed the young Prince returning from school to a cold, distant reception from both parents.

Series three sees the Prince, now played by Josh O’Connor, in his early twenties, but this lack of understanding (and even compassion) from his parents remains a sore spot and Charles, whose investiture as the Prince of Wales is explored in detail in the sixth episode, is still painted as an outsider in the royal establishment.

The early days of his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles (played by Emerald Fennell) will also play out on screen.

The Duke of Windsor

Exiled: Alex Jennings as the Duke of Windsor, with Claire Foy (Robert Viglasky / Netflix)

Effectively banished to France, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor took a back seat for the majority of the second series - and when they did pop up, the series didn't exactly paint them in the most flattering of lights. Episode six saw the Duke (played by Alex Jennings) attempt to return to Britain in the hope of persuading the Queen, his niece, to let him take on a glamorous new role as an ambassador or high commissioner.

His timing, however, could not be worse. Archivists had just discovered a cache of documents, known as the Marburg Files, which revealed the Duke’s sympathetic wartime correspondence with the Nazi high command. After the Queen was made aware of the shocking documents, she made it clear that her uncle was no longer welcome in Britain.

In series three, the now-elderly Duke is played by Derek Jacobi. With his health on the wane, the former King strikes up a friendship with the future King, Charles, through letters - but the rest of his family are less disposed to forgive him.

The Crown series three is available to stream on Netflix from Sunday, November 17. Series one and two are available to stream now.

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