Imelda Staunton Will Play the Queen In 'The Crown's Fifth and Final Season

Netflix confirmed it: We'll get just two more seasons.

Imelda Staunton on the red carpet.
(Image credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

On Friday, Netflix confirmed two bombshell pieces of news about hit show The Crown: first, that British actress and Downtown Abbey favorite Imelda Staunton will play The Queen in her later years in season five; and, in addition, that season five will be the show's last.In a statement, Staunton said: “I have loved watching The Crown from the very start. As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts. I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion."

Morgan added that he'd come to the decision that the fifth season had to be the show's last. "At the outset I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season five it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop," he said in a statement.

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Staunton's casting is not a huge surprise; rumors of her new role have swirled for a while, and her husband, Jim Carter, recently let the news slip to The Sunsaying: "Thankfully I don't have to start bowing to her for another two years, so I have plenty of time to practice."

Although observers had wondered if later seasons of The Crown would have Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's marriage and high-profile departure from the senior royal family, Prince Harry has said that he'd prefer the show not to, reportedly saying: "I'm going to make sure I stop it before they get to me."

He doesn't have to worry; it's very unlikely that the show would jump forward so far into time for season five. We already know that season four will cover Princess Diana's arrival in the royal family and the events that led to her much-publicized divorce from Prince Charles. Charles and Diana married in 1977, and Harry didn't meet Meghan until 40 years later, so it's unlikely that the show would jump forward that much in time in one season.

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Jenny Hollander
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Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books in 2024.