‘The Crown’ will end a season earlier than expected, with Imelda Staunton as queen


Netflix has crowned its last queen.

The streaming giant announced Friday that Imelda Staunton will succeed Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II for the fifth and final season of its period drama “The Crown.”

Staunton, known for playing Maud Bagshaw in “Downton Abbey” and Dolores Umbridge in the “Harry Potter” franchise, is the third actress to assume the coveted throne, following Golden Globe-winning turns from Colman and Claire Foy.

The popular series, however, will forgo an expected sixth season, with showrunner Peter Morgan saying in a statement that he’d had a change of heart.


For three seasons, Netflix’s “The Crown” has inspired viewers to research the royal family and British history. Wikipedia and Google data bear that out.

Nov. 18, 2019

“[N]ow that we have begun work on the stories for season five,” he said, “it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop. I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision.”

#Megxit, we hardly knew ye.

“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,” Staunton said in a statement shared to Netflix’s Twitter feed.

Imelda Staunton will portray Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth season of "The Crown."
Imelda Staunton will portray Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth season of “The Crown.”
(Daniel Deme / EPA)

“I am genuinely honored to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking ‘The Crown’ to its conclusion,” she said.

Staunton’s casting had been denied by Netflix back in November.

Around the same time, the third and most recent season of “The Crown” was released, featuring Colman’s royal debut, plus other well-received newcomers Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles.

The current ensemble, which just collected a SAG Award, will reign for one more season before Staunton and her yet-to-be-announced castmates take over for Season 5.

With only two more seasons and one major time jump to go, “The Crown” will come up short of recent bombshell events, such as Meghan and Harry’s sudden departure from the royal family.

Next season, however, the series will cover the highly publicized arrival of Princess Diana, portrayed by Emma Corrin.