As ET previously reported, season 4 will pick up a few years after the ending of 3, in 1979, and cover the events of the royal family until 1990. During this time, they largely become distracted with finding a bride for an unmarried Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), who still seems preoccupied with royal outsider Camilla Shand (Emerald Fennell). Eventually, Charles falls into a whirlwind romance with Lady Diana Spencer, who captures the world’s attention.
Meanwhile, Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) is elected as prime minister, marking the first time two women are leading the nation while also sparking a tense relationship between the Commonwealth and the monarchy.
As the teaser promises, season 4 of The Crown will be the darkest and most dramatic yet, with the royal family facing unexpected challenges from every side. Not only do Diana and Thatcher upend the delicate balance of power inside Buckingham Palace, but the family must overcome some personal tragedies and face an ever-changing public opinion that questions the value of their presence and leadership.
In addition to Colman, Fennell and O’Connor, season 4 also marks the final performances by Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, Marion Bailey as The Queen Mother and Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten. Meanwhile, Corrin and Anderson will just make the one-season appearance, with a notable time jump made every two seasons meaning that an older cast will take over the lead roles.
“Being able to play a character for a period and then pass on the baton feels so lovely,” O’Connor previously told ET about his limited time as Charles, adding that whoever succeeds him “will be very fortunate because it’s a gift of a part. He’s such a troubled and complicated character.”