The first episode of season 5 begins with a flashback to Queen Elizabeth’s early days as monarch. In this scene, the character is played by Claire Foy (who starred in seasons one and two). But right on cue, the screen fades to present-day and shows Queen Elizabeth in her 60s (played by Imelda Staunton). FYI, the latest episodes feature a new cast due to another time-jump.
The installment offers a glimpse of what’s to come in the rest of the season, and it seems there are two key story lines. The first focus is the turbulent relationship between Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Prince Charles (Dominic West), who isn’t a king…yet. It highlights how hard Diana fights to fix their marriage, despite lack of interest from Charles, and how their strained relationship affects their kids, Prince William (Timothee Sambor) and Prince Harry (Teddy Hawley).
“What happens when the family falls apart?” Diana says. “I say the Institution falls apart. And then…[explosion noise].”
The second story line is that of Queen Elizabeth and how she endures scrutiny once Prince Charles marries Princess Diana. While some people want her to step down and allow the Prince of Wales to take over, she remains confident that she’s the best person for the job.