Netflix has aired The Crown for the first time since Queen’s death

Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce and Lesley Manville play Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret in Season 5 of the hit Netflix show. #k5evening

SEATTLE — A new season of the critically acclaimed series ‘The Crown’ released today on Netflix, sparking both discussion and criticism.

It is the first season to air since the deaths of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth.

Season five focuses on the early 1990s – a difficult time for the royals. Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage ended, and the Queen navigated her reign as a senior.

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The new season also introduces a new cast, including Imelda Staunton as the Queen and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip. Both expressed admiration for the Queen’s long reign as there is no “retirement” for members of the royal family.

“No, she worked two days before she died,” Staunton said.

“I’m glad she didn’t retire or we’d be out of a job,” Pryce added.

The actors follow in the footsteps of two award-winning casts before them.

“It was intimidating but exciting and challenging and a huge privilege,” Staunton said.

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“Everyone was new and we all had the same experience and it turned out to be a great experience,” Pryce added.

Lesley Manville also joined the show as Princess Margaret – a role made easier due to her long real-life history with Staunton.

“We have been friends for many decades and have worked together before. We’re good friends, we’re very close friends, so that part of the sibling relationship is taken care of,” Manville said. “The scenes that I have to do with her, I just know we’re going to have great days.”

There were weird days, too – particularly when Queen Elizabeth died. Production was halted as a mark of respect, but there was criticism of the show’s arc in England. Some in the press and entertainment industries have expressed concern that viewers may be confusing it with reality.

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“We’re not trying to give you a history lesson because most adults will know about this period because it’s fairly recent,” Manville said. “What ‘The Crown’ can do is speculate about what these people are like as individuals.”

Manville, Staunton and Pryce have a real connection to the royals: they are all ‘CBEs’, an honor for service to the British Empire bestowed by the Queen.

As actors, Staunton said, they also understand what it means to have a sense of duty.

“When you do theatre, you do 8 shows a week and yes you are absolutely exhausted but you do it. You said you’d come at 7:30 and do the show, you’d show up at 7:30,” Staunton said. “The Queen has been showing up for 70 years.”

The cast hopes viewers will turn up again for The Crown – an imaginary behind-the-scenes look at the world’s most famous family.

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About Gloria Skelton

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