The much-anticipated fourth season of the Netflix drama The Crown, about the British Royal family, drops in Australia on Sunday, November 15 at 5pm (AEDT).
In our season guide, we have a list of the key cast, the Netflix synopsis for each of the episodes plus facts about the royal residences featured in this season.
We then also have a guide to The Crown in facts and figures that includes trivia about the corgis, the cars and the costumes.
The Crown Season 4
Olivia Colman plays The Queen
Tobias Menzies plays Prince Phillip
Helena Bonham Carter plays Princess Margaret
Josh O’Connor plays Prince Charles
Erin Doherty plays Princess Anne
Gillian Anderson plays Margaret Thatcher
Emma Corrin plays Princess Diana
Emerald Fennell plays Camilla Parker – Bowles
Charles Dance plays Lord Mountbatten
Marion Bailey plays Queen Mother
Georgie Glen plays Lady Fermoy
Tom Byrne plays Prince Andrew
Angus Imrie plays Prince Edward
The Crown Season 4: Episode Synopses
It’s the 1979 election and Queen Elizabeth finds herself inviting Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to form a government after a landslide victory. Almost exact contemporaries, the two women find that neither is quite what they had expected and they feel confident of a good working relationship together.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles’s refusal to settle down weighs heavily on the Royals. Having been thwarted in his choice of bride, Camilla Shand, his relations with his family, including his once confidante, great uncle Lord Mountbatten, remain strained. In an impassioned attempt to redress the situation, Mountbatten tries and fails to express his concerns to the Prince about his irresponsible behaviour. But when Mountbatten is assassinated in an IRA bomb attack, the Royal Family is rocked to its core; robbing the Queen of a key ally, and Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh of a father figure. Grief stricken and lost, Prince Charles tries to take his great uncle’s advice and find a suitable bride. Enter young aristocrat Lady Diana Spencer who charms him with her vitality, kindness and beauty.
When Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis pay their first visit to holiday with the Royal Family in Balmoral, they wonder if they will pass the infamous ‘Balmoral Test’. Prince Charles, meanwhile, continues in earnest to court Lady Diana Spencer however still hesitant about the match, he seeks guidance from Camilla who persuades him to invite Diana to Balmoral. Facing opposition in her cabinet to the speed and severity of her policies, Margaret Thatcher struggles with the concept of taking a ‘holiday’ and finds herself a fish out of water in the rarefied world of the royal court.
Having started her premiership on a positive footing with the Queen, cracks start to appear in the relationship as the weekend exposes their stark differences and the Prime Minister leaves Scotland galvanised to sweep aside the old establishment within her own cabinet. But while Thatcher fails the Balmoral Tests, Diana passes with flying colours and the Duke of Edinburgh urges Prince Charles to propose.
After a brief courtship, Prince Charles bows to family pressure and proposes to Lady Diana Spencer. But cracks in their ‘happily ever after’ begin to show as Prince Charles embarks on a long-planned six-week tour of Australia, leaving the newly engaged Diana isolated and floundering in the Palace as she undergoes the transformation from teenager to Princess of Wales. While the outside world imagines only the fairytale, Prince Charles’s absence and the level of scrutiny that Diana finds herself under begin to torment her and doubts about the marriage start to creep in.
As the wedding fast approaches, Diana feels increasingly trapped and what began as a fairytale, turns into a nightmare. Only Princess Margaret, herself the victim of thwarted romance and an unhappy marriage, warns the family that this is a mismatch that will create misery for all. Her words are unheeded, and the wedding of the century goes ahead.
Margaret Thatcher finds herself uncharacteristically distracted after her son Mark goes missing in the desert whilst competing in the Paris Dakar Rally. Her maternal affection and anxiety for her son’s well-being impedes her ability to run the country in the way she is used to. The Queen, aware of her situation, is sympathetic to this display of humanity but Thatcher’s obvious preference for her son over her daughter, leads the monarch to question who her own favourite child is. After meeting with each one, she finds them all wanting, and comes to the painful realisation that she has failed as a mother.
What legacy is she leaving the country with such heirs? Will the monarchy be able to survive without her steady hand? However, she finds consolation in the fact that she has also had to play mother to the nation and as it appears Britain is moving closer to war in the Falklands, it is a role she must continue playing without flinching.
Margaret Thatcher is enjoying renewed popularity due to the success of her Falklands campaign, but ordinary people are suffering under her divisive leadership. One such man is Michael Fagan. After being driven to the edge by the eye-watering welfare bureaucracy and subsequently, losing his children in a custody battle, he hits rock bottom and successfully breaks into Buckingham Palace in order to talk to the one person who might be able to help… the Queen. The intrusion gives Thatcher the ammunition she needs to insist on improvements in the Queen’s security. And while Thatcher basks in the glory of a successful war in the Falklands, the Queen feels more remote than ever from her subjects.
Wales’s marriage is on the rocks and it’s becoming a cause for concern amongst the family. But when republican Bob Hawke is sworn in as Australia’s Prime Minister, it falls to Prince Charles, accompanied by Princess Diana and their young son Prince William, to embark on an important and politically sensitive tour of Australia to win back the public’s affections.
The tour starts badly as the couple receive a cool reception from the press and public. However, with ten thousand miles between them and court and free from the influence of Queen and Camilla, the royal couple start to rekindle their romance and this display of togetherness helps them win over the Australian people. But as Princess Diana’s growing popularity hits fever pitch, Prince Charles struggles with being outshone and cracks begin to appear in the marriage once more.
On returning to England, Princess Diana seeks the help of the one person she feels her husband will listen to, his mother. But she doesn’t receive the warm embrace she hoped for.
Bruised by another failed romance, and facing her own mortality after a lung operation, Princess Margaret once more turns to her older sister to request a more active role in the family firm. But her timing is unfortunate – Prince Edward’s 21st birthday sees her once more knocked down the order of precedence, and further under-employed.
When even the normal idyll of Mustique fails to lift her spirits and unable to muscle through this slump, she eventually seeks professional help. It is within this context that she learns the heartbreaking story of her first cousins, sisters Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, who were placed in a mental institution decades earlier, assumed dead. Channeling her own pain she confronts her mother and finds herself outraged by the moral decisions of the family, which puts survival ahead of everything else, no matter what the cost.
The Queen finds herself at odds with her Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher’s refusal to cooperate with commonwealth leaders and back tougher sanctions against South Africa and its apartheid regime. Struggling to remain impartial on issues dearest to her, the Queen shares her frustration with her press secretary, Michael Shea, and a story is passed to the press, detailing The Queen’s disquiet about Thatcherism. When the story blows up, the Queen is required to deny her role in it, but her actions have stoked the flames, causing an unprecedented rift between Prime Minister and Sovereign with parties fearing a constitutional crisis. It is then that the Queen must once more remember the limits of her role as an apolitical figurehead and embrace the quiet power she still wields.
The Wales’s marriage is at an all-time low with both Prince Charles and Princess Diana seeking comfort elsewhere. As rumours gather pace, the Queen turns to straight-talking Princess Anne to ask the truth about the state of the marriage and is left concerned, knowing that its deterioration risks destabilising the monarchy itself.
When the Prince of Wales’s skiing party is hit by a sudden avalanche, his safety is temporarily in doubt. But whilst his near-death experience makes Prince Charles realise he wants to be free of his marriage, it has the opposite effect on Princess Diana who commits to doing everything she can to reconcile their relationship.
Strong-armed by his parents to make the marriage work, Prince Charles keeps Diana at a distance and instructs her protection officers to report any indiscretions back to him, in the hope that she will do something he can use as an excuse to separate their households. And, sure enough, after a failed attempt to woo Prince Charles with a theatrical surprise, Princess Diana looks for love elsewhere.
While Margaret Thatcher is stabbed in the back by her cabinet and finds herself unexpectedly facing a leadership challenge, Prince Charles uses the resumption of Princess Diana’s affair to try and escape the marriage. Both women are left devastated by being betrayed by those closest to them. But as Thatcher is forced to leave Downing Street, Princess Diana’s first solo trip to New York gives her the opportunity for rebirth as she begins to understand the power of her celebrity for the first time.
Hoping for congratulations on her return home, she is instead faced with fearsome animosity from Prince Charles, aware that her increasingly popular public profile impacts badly on his relationship with Camilla and any hope of a future with her. With the Wales’s marriage in freefall, the Queen’s sympathies lie not with her son or daughter in law, rather with her sometime antagonist, Thatcher, whose controversial leadership eventually led to her being ousted by her own cabinet.
Royal Households featured in Season 4
Balmoral Castle, a large estate house situated in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, has been a residency for the Royal family since 1852 and is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth II.
Shooting Locations: Ardverikie Estate, Kinloch Laggan Newtonmore Inverness-shire Knebworth House
Buckingham Palace is the official home of the Queen and has been the seat of the monarchy since 1837. Buckingham Palace has been the location for celebrations that include; Royal Weddings, Jubilees and Investitures, to name a few.
Shooting Locations: Elstree Studios Wrotham Park Moor Park
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Peninsula Wilton House
Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror and is the oldest working castle in the world. The Queen uses Windsor Castle as her weekend home, as well as performing official duties there.
Shooting Locations: Belvoir Castle Burghley House
Kensington Palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria. It is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in London. It’s home to many royals, in particular The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Shooting Locations: Harefield Grove Brocket Hall Wellington College
Sandringham House is located in Norfolk and is the private home of the Royals. The Queen’s country estate is where the Royals traditionally celebrate Christmas.
Shooting Locations: Somerleyton Hall, Somerleyton
Highgrove is home to The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The estate is located in the county of Gloucestershire and is well known for its gardens.
Shooting Locations: Somerley House
Clarence House is the London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. It is positioned next to St James Palace and counts The Queen Mother, The Queen and Prince Philip as previous occupants.
Shooting Locations: High Canons Borehamwood
Gatcombe Park is the country residence of Anne, Princess Royal. It is located within the country of Gloucestershire and is six miles from Highgrove House. Parts of the grounds open for events, including horse trials and craft fairs.
Shooting Locations: Wrotham Park
The Crown – Royal Facts & Figures
How many locations are used in total for S4?
Roughly 90 locations. About 75% of filming takes place on location.
What has been the most challenging prop item to source?
Food with the right packaging and old mobile phones.
How many photo frames of the principle cast are there?
There are approx. 70 silver photo frames of different characters for all the sets.
What props are on the Queen’s desk?
Various racing related objects – a horseshoe pen holder, horse hoof letter opener, bespoke Royal ER gilt embossed stationery blotters and diaries, lots of photos of her family (particularly her father). Also bespoke leather frames made – again with the Royal crest embossed on them.
How many cigarette holders did Helena have as Princess Margaret?
There were about 12 options overall, but Helena picked a favourite and pretty much used that one, it’s a thick horn cigarette holder. The only time she would use a daintier holder would be during a party scene on occasion. She had approximately 8 different antique cigarette cases, but again she had a couple of favourites that she used more regularly than others.
How many corgis are featured?
Mainly feature 2 corgis, called Lily and Prince. From time to time there are additional Corgis to form a larger family/royal household group of Corgis for bigger setups, including corgi puppies.
Which cars does the Queen drive?
She is driven in a Rolls Royce Phantom VI. She drives a S2 Land Rover in Balmoral.
How many audiences between the Prime Minister and the Queen took place this season?
We have a total of 11 audiences between Elizabeth and Thatcher in S4.
How many wigs does each principal character have?
6 wigs each
How long does it take to create a wig?
3 weeks minimum
Who has the most varied hair styles?
Total number of costumes made?
Total number costumes made for the Queen?
120 (individual pieces)
Total number of costumes made for Diana?
80 (individual pieces)
How many fittings does each cast member have until a costume is ready?
Usually 2 or 3 but can be up to 4 if it is a complicated piece ie. Wedding dress, Queen’s trooping of the colour riding habit.
How long does it take for a design to go from sketch to screen?
On average, it takes around 2-3 weeks depending on the intricacy of the costume.
How many uniforms feature in this series?
Approximately 1500 uniforms, for Trooping of the Colour and there were a lot of foreign uniforms for Mountbatten’s funeral. The biggest uniform day was the Falklands Victory Parade which featured all 3 forces.
How many outfits did Diana have for the Australia tour?
How many handbags does the Queen have?
The Queen has 6 handbags. Most of these were bought from the company The Queen actually uses.
How many prime ministers in the Queen’s reign?
How many prime ministers featured in the Crown so far?
How many castles does the Queen own?
How many Royal residences are there?
23 – Buckingham Palace (London), Windsor Castle (Windsor), Palace of Holyroodhouse (Edinburgh), Hillsborough Castle (N. Ireland), Sandringham House (Norfolk), Balmoral Castle (Aberdeenshire), Craigowan Lodge (Aberdeenshire) Clarence House (London), Highgrove House (Gloucestershire), Llwynywermod (Carmarthenshire, Wales), Tamarisk (Isles of Scilly), Birkhall (Aberdeenshire), Kensington Palace (London), Anmer Hall (Norfolk), Frogmore (Windsor), St James’s Palace (London), Gatcombe Park (Gloucestershire), Ivy Cottage (Kensington Palace), The Royal Lodge (Windsor), Bagshot Park (Surrey), Barnwell Manor (Northamptonshire), Wren House (Kensington Palace), Thatched House Lodge (Richmond).
How many Royal residences feature in The Crown
Eight – Buckingham Palace, Balmoral, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, Sandringham, Highgrove, Clarence House, Gatcombe Park.
How often do the audiences between the Queen and Prime Minister take place?
The Queen meets the Prime Minister for at least 30 minutes every Tuesday when the House of Commons is sitting.
How many audiences did Thatcher and the Queen have?