The official trailer of “The Crown” Season 5 is here, which will premiere on Netflix on November 9. This hotly tipped season narrows its attention to the turbulent time period of the Royal Family in the 90s, with the focus on the crumbling marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana and media scrutiny threatening to rupture the structure of the monarchy. If the trailer is any indication, expect this season of The Crown to be the most controversial yet.
Sure enough, the trailer starts off with the image of a burning castle and then comes Queen Elizabeth II’s words, expressing her increasing concern regarding the events that have taken place in the last year. The burning castle is most certainly the recreation of the events that led to the devastating fire that broke out in Windsor Castle in 1992. The trailer gives us just the right amount of cues to know that “The Crown” will recreate the controversial interview of Princess Diana with former BBC interviewer Martin Bashir. We hear Diana when she says she won’t be a silent observer in the follow-up of things. She will ensure that her truth is out, even if that costs her everything. And then there is the bombshell revenge dress that Princess Diana wore at the height of the discussion over the divorce rumors that is given a peak in the trailer, so we know “The Crown” won’t shy away from going all out on the drama.
The trailer also gives us a glimpse of the relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla, with the Queen giving her son an acidic reminder that it is his actions, not hers, that have been the threatening factor for the survival of the monarchy. Charles and Camilla are also seen sharing a kiss in the backdrop of fireworks. There’s also a highly tense moment of frustration and resentment following him as he shouts angrily at Diana’s actions. This is perhaps his response to the all-out BBC interview of Princess Diana that shook the nation. The trailer features the cover of The Verve’s 1997 track Bitter Sweet Symphony to an extraordinary effect. The indie song makes for a perfect outlet for the urgency of the situation during that time, referring the viewers to the tragedy that lies ahead.
The new season of the Emmy-winning drama features a completely new cast, with Imelda Staunton (most famously known for playing Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter) taking over Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II. The rest of the cast includes Elizabeth Debicki (you might recall her from a prominent role in “Tenet” and “The Night Manager” series) as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Jonathan Pryce, who plays the part of Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, and Olivia Williams playing the role of Camilla Parker Bowles.
Season 4 left off on a bitter state of things, as we have seen in the last episode named War, where Princess Diana (played by Emma Corrin) joins the rest of the family for the annual Christmas photo. Her husband doesn’t register her presence, nor does the rest of the family. Episode 10 ends with a closeup of the face of the Princess as the photo is being taken. Since the release of Season 4, two years have passed. At the Emmys last year, “The Crown” ruled, grabbing all four major acting awards, along with Best Drama Series and Best Director. Even Claire Foy, who played the younger Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons, and who appeared on screen for a brief amount of time in Season 4, won her second Emmy for the part, this time for Guest Actor. The expectations are, therefore, sky-high for the new bunch of actors.
The release of this season is also a lot more shifty this time around, with the demise of Queen Elizabeth II just two months ago. Now that Charles will become King, there has been widespread curiosity as to how the drama will play out in his favor and in the national interest. Just a week ago, Dame Judi Dench wrote a public letter condemning the Netflix series for promoting “crude sensationalism” and for being “cruelly unjust” to the reputation of the British monarchy. She has also demanded Netflix issue a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, claiming that it is a fictional drama and not a documentary. Peter Morgan, the creator of the show, has reportedly been under a lot of pressure with the ongoing debate. The speculation also remains firm in this scenario since the trailer came in quite late this time around, without a proper teaser trailer like the rest of the preceding seasons. The new season releases in just two weeks’ time, and the press interviews are yet to begin.
For those taking note, Season 5 is all set to dramatize the leaked 1989 phone call between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, as confirmed by Dominic West, the actor playing Charles. This infamous conversation is one event the Royal Family would safely keep under the carpet. This sparks serious concerns at the particular moment since the reputation now lands on King Charles and Camilla as Queen Consort. The trailer also gives us a hint of the time period of the former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major, respectively, where the new season will reportedly devote an episode revolving around Charles plotting with Major to bring down the Queen to abdicate her throne. Major has come out saying such suggestions are entirely false and taking these creative liberties while dealing with real-life figures is ultimately dangerous.
The problem here mainly starts because “The Crown” has only grown in capturing the attention of the viewers over the years. As the seasons came around, the history books gave way to a deceptively angular mix of collective memory. “The Crown” could have gotten away with the unheard tales of Winston Churchill and the controversies surrounding Princess Margaret, but as the show ages and comes to throw light upon the higher members of the royal family, it inches closer and closer to the subject that is still a part of the present. It is no longer a thing of the past. With “The Crown,” the interest in the royal family has grown to an all-time high, and given how good the show is, in its ferocious attention to detail and note-perfect performances, it is hard not to let the fiction cloud over the truth. The show is ridiculously addictive, as loyal fans will agree.
The trailer, if one notices, starts and ends with a sight of a fire wreaking havoc on a castle, and in its tone, it is not romantic at the least. At the end of the trailer, Queen Elizabeth II reflects on the desperate times, asking why. Isn’t it a rather reflective suggestion considering the drama surrounding the media scrutiny over “The Crown”? Come whatever it may, the trailer is so propulsive and fiery that your interest will be picked from the very first moment. It instantly catches your attention, and by the time it ends on that berserk note, there are chills. Anticipate more fireworks when it drops on Netflix on November 9.