The Crown Enters into the Modern World in Season Two

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On November 6th, a new trailer for The Crown season 2 was launched by Netflix, allowing fans a glimpse of what’s to come this season for the period drama based on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

The first season followed Queen Elizabeth II from 1947, when she married Prince Philip, until 1955, when Princess Margaret’s engagement to Peter Townsend ended. Season two will instead be set from 1957 to 1964, following Britain’s royal family over an eight-year period.

The main cast of The Crown that will be reprising their roles include Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother, and Jeremy Northam as Anthony Eden. Some new cast members that will be introduced in season 2 include Matthew Goode as Princess Margaret’s love interest Lord Snowdon, Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and Jodi Balfour (Quarry) as First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

One major cast member that is not returning in season 2 is John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, who won an Emmy award last year for his performance as the eccentric, obstinate prime minister. Claire Foy has confirmed that Lithgow is “not on set,” to the dismay of fans for whom Lithgow’s performance as the doddering curmudgeon was the heart of the show.

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“It’s awful!” said Claire Foy in an interview with Vulture. “Me and Matt [Smith] did a Skype chat the other day and John was there on the end in L.A. It was so amazing just to see his face! I just love and miss him so much. But saying that, I can’t be unfaithful. I do have some amazing new prime ministers— Jeremy Northam, who plays Anthony Eden, and then Harold Macmillan— so I’m a very lucky girl!”

On The Crown as it occurred in history, Winston Churchill resigns as prime minister and is then replaced by Anthony Eden. What follows is the arrival and quick departure of many prime ministers. Eden does not last very long and resigns in 1957, only two years after his appointment, after he poorly mishandles the Suez crisis. Queen Elizabeth is then required to name his replacement and appoints Harold Macmillian, a choice for which she received lots of disapproval. Two new prime ministers come and go as Macmillan is replaced by Alec Douglas-Home, who is then shortly superseded by Harold Wilson.

Another event fans can expect to see in season two includes Margaret’s marriage to Lord Snowdon or Antony Armstrong-Jones. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Vanessa Kirby stated, “She meets Antony Armstrong-Jones, and she goes head first into a completely new, exciting, dangerous, volatile, dysfunctional relationship and then marriage.”

“Tony starts this whole trail of a more bohemian life outside,” continued Kirby. “Margaret was best friends with Elizabeth Taylor, and she had loads of American actress friends and singers. You see these two worlds collide— her’s and Tony’s, who is a member of the public and was a creative, liberal, dark horse. Meanwhile she is this epitome of the establishment.”

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As for Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship, Morgan also intimated that the marriage between Elizabeth and Prince Philip would only get rockier in season two, resulting in Philip being unfaithful. During a panel, Morgan stated, “Doesn’t everyone in Britain know that [Philip] had an affair?” Claims were made that Philip had affairs with actress Pat Kirkwood and TV celebrity Katie Boyle between 1956 and 1964. All of these claims were denied by Prince Philip at the time.

According to Peter Morgan, the series writer, season two will center more on Prince Philip and how his early life “might have impacted him as a man, a father and as Prince Consort,” with a specific emphasis on his relationship with his son, Prince Charles.

According to Morgan, the series will also be shifting focus from the fenced-in sophisticated world of Buckingham Palace to the outside, modern world of the 60s. “We leave behind a certain kind of Britain and enter a new Britain,” said Morgan. “It’s goodbye to a different, Edwardian, post-imperial world. We get a classlessness and a modernity beginning to creep in. It is going to be terrific.”

Philip Martin, the series director for The Crown, stated, “The first season happened in a bubble; I think that Elizabeth and Philip and Margaret are all in a world and everybody is in some ways supportive of them. And I think in the second season, the world comes crashing in.”

Unfortunately, Season 2 will be the last season to showcase this extraordinary cast since Morgan, plans to have The Crown depict the entirety of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign across six seasons, which means finding an older cast to portray the characters over time. To allow for a whole new cast to naturally be introduced, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three, and once more between four and five; the whole cast will be replaced twice, first for season three and then again in season five. No one has been cast yet for season three except for Queen Elizabeth II, which will be played by Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) who will be replacing Claire Foy.

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Despite the upheaval of cast members, the current cast members show nothing but support for their future replacements. In an interview with Digital Spy, Matt Smith stated, “If everyone can pull it off in the way that we hope they can, I think it could be a real televisual feat.”

Claire Foy said, “I can’t wait to watch it and I just think whoever they get to play that part, they’ll be extraordinary because they’re an extraordinary team. I will never watch it with any sense of bitterness or regret.”

Fans of The Crown can also expect to meet Princess Diana’s character in future seasons, who is supposedly going to be introduced in the end of season three and be “heavily” present in seasons four and five. Other people from history we should expect to see include Prince Charles’s second wife Camila, Duchess of Corwall, Margaret Thatcher, and Donald Trump according to the producer Suzanne Mackie.

All ten episodes of The Crown season 2 will be available to stream on Netflix on December 8, 2017.

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