The historical drama returned on Wednesday (9 November) with a new cast stepping into the (rather sensible) shoes of the British royal family.
The Crown has also been surrounded by controversy as royal supporters have demanded that the series comes with a disclaimer clarifying that it is a work of fiction.
Below you can find six of the major talking points from the season five release.
Episode one of the new series starts with a black-and-white flashback of the queen in her youth. It featured the series’ original Elizabeth II – Claire Foy.
Foy played the Queen in the first two seasons of the show, earning acclaim as well as two Emmy Awards for her performance.
Many hailed Foy’s performance, with one calling her “irreplaceable” and another stating she is “by far the best portrayal of the queen I’ve seen”.
Many were left feeling conflicted as they found themselves fancying the former Conservative prime minister. In the series, Major is played by Trainspotting actor Jonny Lee Miller.
“Why is Johnny Lee Miller playing John Major...he is far too hot. I don’t want to fancy John Major,” one fan wrote, while another added: “If you make me fancy John Major I’ll be furious.”
The Independent previously investigated why a show about largely unsexy people is so ripe with sexy actors.
Some people found it hard to detach Staunton’s most famous role from her new one as the Queen. Staunton famously starred as the wicked Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
It’s made particularly difficult as Umbridge’s high-pitched, RP accent is not a million miles off Staunton’s interpretation of the Queen’s accent.
“I love Imelda Staunton & she’s cast well as the next queen in The Crown, but sadly I still only hear Umbridge from Harry Potter when she speaks!” one person wrote.
One scene from the first episode in particular had fans reaching for the tissue box. In it, Princes William and Harry defend their mother after Prince Charles mocks her suggestion of going shopping while the family is on holiday.
In a follow-up scene, Diana tells her sons: “Thanks for sticking up for me. That was brave.”
“Prince Harry and Prince William standing up for Diana, my heart is lowkey weeeeeeping,” one viewer wrote.
The scandal is tackled in the series, however, Princess Anne star Claudia Harrison she believes the British public will be “surprised by” the “truth” of the affair.
In a scene in which Anne talks to Dominic West’s Prince Charles about the recording, she tells him “no one deserves” the humiliation he’s going through, and says that when she got over the “gyneaological” aspect of the transcript, she saw “two teenagers of a certain age being so gloriously human and entirely in love”.
Relive all the major reactions from release day below...
The Crown season 5 will arrive on Netflix this morning
Wednesday 9 November 2022 06:57 , Isobel Lewis
Morning all! The day is finally upon us: The Crown season five arrives on Netflix this morning.
We’ll be keeping you updated ahead of the show’s release at 8am GMT.
What are the critics saying about The Crown season 5?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:05 , Isobel Lewis
The fifth season of The Crown arrives on Netflix this AM, but The Independent’s critic Nick Hilton has already offered his verdict on the show.
It’s fair to say he wasn’t too impressed...
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:15 , Isobel Lewis
One of the reasons fans love the Netflix series is for its warts-and-all portrayal of the British royal family.
The royals themselves? Not such big fans (at least allegedly).
However, The Independent’s Jessie Thompson reckons they need to “get over” the show and realise that it humanises their image more than hinders it.
Why was 1992 Queen Elizabeth’s ‘annus horribilis'?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:25 , Isobel Lewis
Season five of The Crown is set in the Nineties and will focus on the breakdown of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage and the fallout from that event.
The year of the couple’s divorce, 1992, was described by Queen Elizabeth II as her “annus horribilis”, during which plenty of other events went down.
Will The Crown season five feature a disclaimer?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:35 , Isobel Lewis
As The Crown season five’s release has approached, many high profile figures have called on the series to have a warning clarifying that it is a work of fiction.
When season four was released, then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that the series should come with a “health warning”. However, Netflix refused to add a disclaimer to the show.
In October, Judi Dench joined those calls, stating that the show is a “fictionalised drama” and should include a disclaimer as a “mark of respect” to the late Queen.
This prompted criticism from incoming Prince Philip, Jonathan Pryce, who hit out at his “fellow artistes” and said that “the vast majority of people know it’s a drama” as “they’ve been watching it for four seasons”.
However, the trailer for season five did include a disclaimer that read: “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatisation tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.”
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:45 , Isobel Lewis
One person who doesn’t think The Crown needs to feature a disclaimer is our new on-screen Princess Anne, Claudia Harrison.
The actor told The Independent that she found the comments “patronising”, saying: “Everyone’s fully aware this is a meticulously crafted and researched piece of historical fiction.”
The Crown season 5 episode 1 features disclaimer
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:55 , Isobel Lewis
The first episode of The Crown season five will feature a disclaimer after all.
The Independent understands that the series opens with a disclaimer clarifying that the show is a work of fiction. It does not feature on the further episodes.
Speaking at the show’s premiere on Tuesday (8 November) night, Elizabeth Debicki told Good Morning Britain that she hoped the inclusion of the disclaimer would “ease” questions about the show being fiction and be “potentially helpful for people who don’t understand that it’s a drama”.
“I think it’s clear because we’re actors saying lines,” she said.
Netflix defends The Crown ahead of season 5 launch
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:55 , Isobel Lewis
A spokesperson said: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.
“Series five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”
Ed Balls: ‘I love The Crown but I know I’m being manipulated’
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:56 , Isobel Lewis
Discussing the new season on GMB, host Ed Balls said that he is able to view The Crown critically while still enjoying it.
“I love it but I know I’m being a bit manipulated,” he said.
Imelda Staunton says The Crown gives royal family ‘dignity and empathy'
Wednesday 9 November 2022 07:58 , Isobel Lewis
Imelda Staunton has defended The Crown creator Peter Morgan, saying that the writer aimed to be “respectful” towards the royals.
“Peter Morgan always wants to be respectful and give the characters dignity and empathy and let the audience imagine what it’s like to be that family,” she told Good Morning Britain.
What is ‘Queen Victoria Syndrome’?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 08:15 , Isobel Lewis
The first episode of The Crown season five is titled “Queen Victoria Syndrome”, but what is it?
The Crown season five doesn’t feature disclaimer after all
Wednesday 9 November 2022 08:19 , Isobel Lewis
An interesting update! While Elizabeth Debicki appeared to reference the presence of a disclaimer during last night’s premiere, it appears that the show has arrived on Netflix without one.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 08:29 , Isobel Lewis
Are you tuning in yet?
The world is watching. Season Five of The Crown is now streaming pic.twitter.com/ENQUu6s624
— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) November 9, 2022
Dominic West says The Crown critics should watch a documentary about royals
Wednesday 9 November 2022 08:40 , Isobel Lewis
Dominic West, our new Prince Charles in The Crown, has offered his thoughts on the “fact-or-fiction” debate.
The actor has called The Crown a work of “imaginative speculation”, saying that debates about the show are probably rife due to the death of the Queen.
Andrew Morton says Elizabeth Debicki shows Diana as he knew her
Wednesday 9 November 2022 08:49 , Isobel Lewis
Elizabeth Debicki’s performance as Princess Diana has been given the seal of approval by biographer Andrew Morton.
Morton, who worked with Diana on the book Diana: Her True Story, said on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday (9 November): “I don’t say this slightly but [Debicki’s] performance really conveys the Diana I got to know for a couple of years in the early 1990s.
“I was struck just watching the episode about how the paper I typed the book on was the same paper, the typeface was the same. The attention to detail was astounding. I’m really quite blown away by it. Of course there are liberties taken but Peter Morgan has done a remarkable job.”
Wednesday 9 November 2022 09:00 , Isobel Lewis
One of the new royals introduced in The Crown season five is Countess Mountbatten, Penelope Knatchbull, a friend of the Queen’s.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 09:15 , Isobel Lewis
Fans are already sharing their verdicts on season five – and it would seem the return of one former star has left viewers very excited.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 09:30 , Isobel Lewis
John Major has been an outspoken voice against this season of The Crown due to his portrayal by Jonny Lee Miller.
But what acrually happened between the former prime minister and Prince Charles?
The Crown season five doesn’t feature disclaimer
Wednesday 9 November 2022 09:45 , Isobel Lewis
While the trailer for season five may have come with a warning that the show was fictional, season five has arrived without a disclaimer.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 09:53 , Isobel Lewis
Wondering what you can expect from The Crown season five?
Here all the major storylines featuring in the show.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 10:10 , Isobel Lewis
Fans have been praising Elizabeth Debicki for her uncanny portrayal of Princess Diana in the show.
— ᴄᴏɴɴᴏʀ (@c_o_nnor_) November 2, 2022
All the celebrities who have criticised The Crown
Wednesday 9 November 2022 10:30 , Annabel Nugent
Few shows this year have been as controversial as the new season of The Crown .
In the run-up to the release, the call for Netflix to add a disclaimer to the hit series has only grown – supported by a number of celebrities including Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter.
The Crown will reportedly dramatise Princess Diana’s Panorama interview showing ‘what we now know'
Wednesday 9 November 2022 10:40 , Jacob Stolworthy
Among the most-anticipated scenes to come in this new season is the notorious Panaroma interview between Princess Diana and BBC journalist Martin Bashir in 1995.
A report by Lord Dyson concluded that the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” by Bashir to secure the bombshell interview and led to a call from the Duke of Cambridge for it never to be aired again.
The revelations emerged as scriptwriters were working on the fifth series of Netflix’s hit royal drama, who have apparently incorporated the new information into the forthcoming storyline.
The BBC donated over £1.4m to charity to make amends for the Panorama interview, which will be dramatised in The Crown
Wednesday 9 November 2022 11:00 , Annabel Nugent
In May last year, BBC apologised to the royal family and returned its Bafta award after an official inquiry concluded that Bashir used “deceitful behaviour” and was in “serious breach” of the corporation’s guidelines when he secured his Panorama interview with the princess.
Will The Crown show Princess Diana’s car crash?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 11:20 , Annabel Nugent
While events leading up to royal’s death will feature in the season, Netflix has said that the series will not show the ‘exact moment’ of the Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana.
Why is everyone in The Crown so sexy?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 11:40 , Nicole Vassell
If you’ve been taken aback by some of the casting decisions of The Crown over the years, you’re not alone.
The Independent’s Adam White has asked the pressing question of why the royal characters and their associates on the show are so attractive.
According to him, “inappropriate sexiness is The Crown’s métier.”
The Crown season five – review
Wednesday 9 November 2022 11:49 , Jacob Stolworthy
The Independent’s review of season five is out, and according to Nick Hilton, it’s only a two-star affair.
In his critique of the show as “the very definition of first-world problems”, he writes: “The reality is that The Crown ran out of steam a while ago. It was intended as a piece of historical fiction, playing on the way that the early days of Elizabeth II’s reign had disappeared into the fog of history.
“The longer it has gone on, the more it has assumed an exhaustive and soap operatic quality.”
Wednesday 9 November 2022 12:13 , Jacob Stolworthy
Is Claire Foy the greatest Queen Elizabeth II actor there has ever been? Helen Mirren might disagree – but fans of The Crown believe it to be true.
The actor has reprised the role in a flashback scene in the brand new season.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 12:35 , Jacob Stolworthy
Many will be tuning into the new season of The Crown to see scenes between Charles and Diana, who are now played by Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki.
But, it’s a scene involving young Princes William and Harry that’s being highlighted.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 13:00 , Nicole Vassell
Having just got over Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher, viewers are now having to deal with... Jonny Lee Miller’s John Major.
Fans react to ‘tampongate’ in season five of The Crown
Wednesday 9 November 2022 13:37 , Nicole Vassell
It’s the phone call that the world can’t quite forget – yes, the infamous conversation between then-Prince Charles and Camilla, in which he expressed a desire to be a tampon.
This season of The Crown tackles the moment, and fans are already reacting to its inclusion in the programme:
the tampon phone call between charles and camilla being in the crown is soooo
— monica (@erikleenz) November 9, 2022
However, Claudia Harrison, who plays Princess Anne in season five, says the British public will be “surprised by” the “truth” of tampongate.
Here’s more below:
Wednesday 9 November 2022 14:06 , Jacob Stolworthy
The Crown season five features a scene between Prince Charles and John Major that is leaving many viewers surprised, but... did it happen?
Wednesday 9 November 2022 14:34 , Jacob Stolworthy
Find out why Harry Potter fans are struggling with the new season here.
In other royal news...
Wednesday 9 November 2022 16:28 , Annabel Nugent
On the same day as The Crown’s season five premiere, a protestor has been detained after eggs were thrown at King Charles in York.
Wednesday 9 November 2022 15:25 , Jacob Stolworthy
Some people have, quite impressively, watched all of the season already!
Wednesday 9 November 2022 16:02 , Jacob Stolworthy
Wondering how the cast of The Crown measures up to the real-life royals? Wonder no more.
Dominic West says The Crown criticism is ‘flattering'
Wednesday 9 November 2022 16:20 , Annabel Nugent
Not all of the actors in The Crown are offended by the criticism against the show. Dominic West – who plays Prince Charles – has said that calls for the series to add a “fiction” disclaimer are “flattering”.
‘Why is everyone in The Crown so attractive?'
Wednesday 9 November 2022 16:40 , Annabel Nugent
Is the show’s relationship to controversy in direct proportion to the inapporpriate attractiveness of its ensemble cast? Adam White investigates why a show about largely unsexy people is so ripe with sexy actors...
Fans remember ‘remarkable' Claire Foy
Wednesday 9 November 2022 17:20 , Annabel Nugent
As Imelda Staunton takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Olivia Colman, fans are recalling Claire Foy’s earlier performance of the late royal in season one and two.
The actor won two Emmy awards for her portrayal of the Queen.
— jade ☾ (@marisasbailey) November 9, 2022
Olivia Colman picked up one Emmy for her performance as the late Queen
Wednesday 9 November 2022 17:40 , Jacob Stolworthy
Like Claire Foy, Olivia Colman was praised for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in seasons three and four.
Colman picked up two Emmy nominations for the role, taking home the award in 2021.
The Independent gives The Crown two stars
Wednesday 9 November 2022 18:21 , Tom Murray
In a two-star review for The Independent, Nick Hilton called The Crown’s fifth season “the definition of first world problems”.
“The reality is that The Crown ran out of steam a while ago... The longer it has gone on, the more it has assumed an exhaustive and soap operatic quality.”
Read the full review here
Comparison between Elizabeth Debicki and Princess Diana clip goes viral
Wednesday 9 November 2022 19:28 , Tom Murray
A video circulating on social media shows Princess Diana’s infamous 1995 interview with Martin Bashir alongside Elizabeth Debicki’s rendition in The Crown.
The interview included Diana saying openly that “there were three of us in this marriage”, alluding to Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
— ᴄᴏɴɴᴏʀ (@c_o_nnor_) November 2, 2022
Princess Anne actor Claudia Harrison thinks public will be ‘surprised by’ the ‘truth’ of tampongate
Wednesday 9 November 2022 20:00 , Tom Murray
In an interview with The Independent, Claudia Harrison, spoke about the infamous recording leaked by People in 1989.
The recording showed a conversation between Charles and his then-mistress Camilla Parker Bowles in which the prince expressed his desire to be reincarnated as a tampon so that he could live inside her.
Harisson said: “The truth of that recording, I think the British public will be surprised by, because at the time it was portrayed as a thing that it wasn’t.”
‘Thats not the Queen. Thats Professor Umbridge'
Wednesday 9 November 2022 23:07 , Tom Murray
Harry Potter fans are having a hard time witnessing Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II.
Staunton famously played the sadistic Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Season five points to Prince Andrew scandal
00:17 , Tom Murray
One scene in the new series of The Crown appears to make a nod at Prince Andrew’s scandal involving convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“People tell me I put my foot in it from time to time,” Andrew (James Murray) tells the Queen (Imelda Staunton) while discussing Sarah Ferguson’s affair.
In 2015, one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, alleged that she was forced to have sex with Epstein and Prince Andrew, a claim that the Duke of York has denied.
King Charles actor Dominic West says calls for a disclaimer are ‘flattering’ as The Crown feels ‘more authentic’ than other shows and films about the royal family
01:15 , Tom Murray
Who is Penelope Knatchbull?
02:15 , Tom Murray
Season five of The Crown shines a light on the Duke of Edinburgh’s close confidante.
Knatchbull (played by Natascha Mceklhone) was one of only 30 mourners who were invited to attend Philip’s funeral last year.
In the series, it is suggested that Phillip pursued an emotional affair with the younger woman while being married to the Queen.
Fans highlight ‘emotional' scene involving Diana, William and Harry
03:15 , Tom Murray
Viewers have already picked up on one poignant scene involving Princess Diana and her sons, William and Harry.
The scene shows the two boys, played by Timothee Sambor (William) and Teddy Hawley (Harry) sticking up for their mother as Charles shoots down her suggestion.
07:49 , Louis Chilton
Despite the back-and-forth over historical accuracy, there’s no denying the uncanny faithfullness in some of The Crown’s scenes, as people have been pointing out.
Look at the recreation of this moment from Diana’s famous interview...