'The Crown' Season 3: A Guide to the Cast and Their Real-Life Royal Counterparts
By Stacy Lambe
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Season three of The Crown jumps ahead in time, meaning that the award-winning Netflix series replaced the entire cast with a new ensemble of age-appropriate stars. Notably, Olivia Colman takes the reins as Queen Elizabeth II from Claire Foy, who won an Emmy for her portrayal, as the latest 10 episodes cover the events and the lives of the royal family from 1964 to 1977.
When it comes to the new cast taking over the major roles, creator Peter Morgan was “worried that it would feel like a different show,” he says, adding: “It was critical that the fans felt like it was a seamless transition. The new cast didn’t bother me because they are all so bloody good and I knew they could do it.” Especially Colman, the Oscar-winning actress for The Favourite, who Morgan says is “an actress with such versatility and intelligence and, a bit like the queen, she doesn’t overthink it. She just turns up and does it.”
Filling out the royal family is Tobias Menzies as her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Helena Bonham Carter as her younger sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Her current husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, is portrayed by Ben Daniels while two of Elizabeth’s kids, Princess Anne and Prince Charles, are played by Erin Doherty and Josh O’Connor, respectively.
Season three of The Crown spans 12 years, kicking off with the election of Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1964 and ending in 1977 with Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee. Other major events depicted include the Aberfan disaster which resulted in 116 adults and 28 kids killed in a mining landslide. Elizabeth is pictured here visiting the Welsh Village in October 1966.
Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip
Best known for his roles on Rome, Game of Thrones and Outlander, Menzies takes over the portrayal of Prince Philip from Matt Smith. The Duke of Edinburgh is pictured below, accompanying Elizabeth during her visit to Aberfan. The season will explore Philip’s passion for flying, which is depicted alongside the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret
No stranger to playing royals, Bonham Carter previously portrayed Queen Elizabeth in The King’s Speech. Now she’s playing her daughter, Princess Margaret, on The Crown, replacing Vanessa Kirby. The new episodes will see Margaret taking on more responsibility within the monarchy while she also struggles to keep her marriage together.
Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong-Jones
A renowned theater actor, Daniels returns to the screen in his biggest role since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He is taking over for Matthew Goode, who originated the role in season two. In the new episodes, Lord Snowdon’s philandering ways catch up to him and he soon finds himself fighting Roddy Llewellyn (Harry Treadaway) for Princess Margaret’s attention.
Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles
The breakout star of God’s Own Country takes on Prince Charles, who was only briefly seen portrayed by Julian Baring as a young kid in season two. Now that he’s older, Charles is learning the hard truths about what it means to be the next in line to the throne. One of the key moments in the new season is his investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969, which is depicted below.
Erin Doherty as Princess Anne
Only briefly seen in season two portrayed by Lyla Barrett-Rye, Princess Anne plays a much bigger role in season three. Doherty, who previously played Fabienne in Showtime’s Les Miserables miniseries, takes over as the maturing daughter, who is not afraid to voice her opinion. She is pictured below at her brother’s investiture.
Emerald Fennell as Camilla Shand
New to The Crown this season is Fennell, who served as showrunner for season two of Killing Eve before originating the role of Prince Charles’ first real romance before Diana. She’s pictured here at one of Charles’ polo matches, which she regularly attended at the time.
Other key family members include Marion Bailey as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Charles Dance as Prince Philip’s uncle, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Derek Jacobi as the Duke of Windsor and Geraldine Chaplin as his wife, the Duchess of Windsor.
Additionally, some of the notable characters outside the family are Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Samuel West as Sir Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, Clancy Brown as Lyndon B. Johnson, Andrew Buchan as Andrew Parker Bowles, and John Hollingworth as Lord Porchester (aka Porchey, who later lived at Highclere Castle, the real-life stand-in for Downton Abbey).
The only major actor to reprise their role is John Lithgow, who returns for a special appearance as Winston Churchill.