The Handbook
The Handbook

The Crown really does wear the crown, the celebrated Netflix hit is without doubt TV’s reigning monarch (tied with Love Island, though does this season seem to have gone a little downhill?) and we’re all hanging on every scrap of information about what’s going to happen in season three. Well, unless you’re in your 50s and 60s, in which case you know exactly what’s happening because it’s *spoiler alert* based on a real story!

History books aside, we know this because the actual Queen and Prince Philip apparently watch the show with Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex for their weekly film nights! Which must be bloody awkward given some of the recent story lines. Maybe they’ve drifted off by the time Philip’s dancing girls make an appearance?

So what has writer Peter Morgan, and his employer Netflix, got in store for us in the highly anticipated third season of this lavish TV drama?

First things first, when’s it coming out?

Netflix have been tight-lipped with the actual date. But thankfully the cast less so. This week, despite Netflix’s best attempts to shroud the launch date in secrecy, cast-member Tobias Menzies (of whom, more to follow) let slip in an interview with the BBC “We shot season three and that starts in November”. Given it’s screening after the 31st October Brexit deadline, of course, perhaps a glimpse into the 1970s, with its unrest, 3-day weeks and numerous crises will be instructive as well as entertaining?

There’s going to be a whole new cast

What? But Claire Foy and Dr Who were the perfect on screen versions of the queen and Philip! But with an eye on the challenges of transforming thirty-something Foy into the shrivelled nonagenarian we know and love today, the programme makers have decided to scotch the whole cast and start again. They intend to do this every couple of series, so don’t get too attached to…

Olivia Colman, playing the queen!

Netflix probably played one of the best hands in telly history by presumably negotiating Colman’s fee weeks before she was nominated for an Oscar for her part in The Favourite. Let’s hope they locked in season four at the same time!

Famous for her roles in Peep Show and Broadchurch, Colman is set to don the bling hat and acres of chintz as she takes us into the 1970s and 80s over season three and four. And she’ll be joined by…

Tobias Menzies, playing Prince Philip!

You’ll totally recognise him, but chances are you had no idea what he’s called. The seasoned actor’s been in Game of Thrones, The Thick of It and The Night Manager but the role in The Crown has the potential to catapult him into full-on mainstream. We’re looking forwards to some DofE classic gaffes as the great man hits the stride of middle age, and we’re sure Menzies is up to the part.

And that’s not all the casting drama…

They’ve only gone and gotten actual Helena Bonham-Carter to play Princess Margaret. The wayward princess, played to near-perfection in the first two seasons by Vanessa Kirkby, will now be acted by Hollywood royalty as Belatrix Lestrange takes up the script. We’re expecting magic.

Prince Charles will be portrayed by Josh O’Connor, known to fans of The Durrells (I stopped watching after a few episodes, but he was great) as the Prince of Wales comes of age. Of course, all eyes will be on his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles (what could go wrong?), and the woman playing pre-tampon-gate Camilla will be the glamorous Emerald Fennell

Erin Doherty will be getting the horsey make-up on as Princess Anne. The relative newcomer has played Jessie Marsh in Call The Midwife. Meanwhile Marion Bailey has been cast as the Queen Mother, taking over from Victoria Hamilton who played the QM for the first two seasons.

What will happen?

So we join the royal saga in the late 1960s, so expect Prince Charle’s time at Cambridge (he studied anthropology, archaeology and history and got a 2:2, the first heir to the throne to get a degree), his investiture as Prince of Wales and his romance with Camilla. Aside from that, we know the moon landings will play a role, because Tobias Menzies has mentioned it (see, you’ve forgotten his name already! He’s the one playing Prince Philip).

Also expect to witness the implosion of Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s marriage. 1972 saw former king, the Duke of Windsor’s, death, so there’ll no doubt be a merry reunion around this event. Don’t forget (as if you could, the amount people still go on about it) England won the world cup in 1966, so they’ll throw that in, plus the royals celebrated Princess Anne’s wedding (another spoiler, it’s doomed) and the queen’s silver jubilee.

Politics in the ’70s got a bit depressing, so look forward to nobody collecting the bins.

And do we know anything about season four?

Margaret Thatcher will be played by X-Filer Gillian Anderson while Lady Di Spencer is reported to be played by Cambridge educated 23 year-old Emma Corrin, who ironically has a dog called… Spencer!

Great so now what?

Um… wait. And consume round-ups like this one…