Truth behind season 5 of The Crown—from Diana’s ‘revenge’ dress to fire at Windsor

The much-anticipated new season of The Crown premieres on Netflix on November 9. The fifth series was originally set to take the royals from the early nineties into the noughties featuring new actors playing the royals, and would’ve been the show’s final season.

However, the show’s writer and creator Peter Morgan later decided to split the events of the decade into two series.

Jonathan Pryce and Imeda Staunton are set to play Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II as the show tackles Her Majesty’s ‘annus horribilis’.

The season’s trailer opens with the voice of the queen saying, “In light of the events of the last 12 months, perhaps I have more to reflect on than most.”

1992 saw the dissolution of three of the monarch’s children’s marriages: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in March; Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips in April; and then-Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in December.

In a speech that marked the 40th anniversary of her accession, the late Queen said, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'.”

Windsor Castle Fire

The first image seen in the trailer for the fifth season shows a castle in flames and Queen Elizabeth II standing amongst the debris. This scene references the fire at Windsor Castle in November 1992 which caused extensive damage.

Buckingham Palace was opened to the public to help fund repairs to Windsor Castle. The official completion date for the restoration was November 20 1997.

Charles and Diana’s divorce

The trailer also highlights the growing tension between Charles and Diana, with their separation and eventual divorce one of the most-anticipated storylines in the upcoming series.

In the trailer, Diana is seen in her famous ‘revenge dress’ worn the night that Charles publicly admitted to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

John Major

Season 5 will cover the tenure of Sir John Major as Prime minister, who took over from Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

His seven years in office included an event known as Black Wednesday in 1992, that saw the rapid devaluation of the exchange rate of the pound, a huge contributor to the rise of the Labour Party and the selection of Tony Blair as Prime Minister.

Charles and Camilla’s affair

The affair is also expected to feature throughout the season, with Charles and Camilla’s relationship blamed for the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage.

Key events – including an incident that saw recordings of the couple’s private conversations leaked to the press in what came to be known as ‘tampongate – are rumoured to be depicted.

Diana’s Panorama interview

In 1995, Princess Diana spoke to Martin Bashir, played by Prasanna Puwanarajah, in an infamous televised interview about her marriage and her experiences as a member of the Royal Family.

One of the most-talked-about moments of the 20th century, an estimated 200 million people watched the Panorama interview which will be dramatised in the upcoming season.

It is understood that the interview led to the Queen finally agreeing to the divorce of Charles and Diana. In 2021, a BBC investigation found that Bashir had commissioned fake documents to mislead Diana into telling her story.

Princess Diana’s death

The untimely death of Princess Diana is not featured in the trailer, however Dodi Fayed, Diana’s partner at the time, has been cast, suggesting that the events surrounding the Princess’ death will be depicted.

The Crown’s coverage of Diana’s passing has been the subject of controversy, leading to Jemima Khan, a friend of the Princess, leaving her role as consultant on the show.


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