- The Crown is a Netflix series that follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her royal family, spanning multiple generations and years.
- Queen Elizabeth II is played by different actresses throughout the series to cover different stages of her life, starting from her early twenties to her late seventies.
- The show features numerous members of the royal family, including Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward, as well as their marriages and children.
The Crown shows how convoluted Queen Elizabeth II’s royal family tree is, and understanding their connections is key to appreciating the show. The Netflix historical drama series is loosely based on the true events of Queen Elizabeth II’s life during her reign, beginning in 1947 and expected to end in 2005. In The Crown, a single episode can span several years, allowing for multiple generations of the royal family to be portrayed onscreen and have their stories told.
The Crown first premiered in 2016, with The Crown season 6 concluding the show. The events of The Crown season 6’s timeline go from 1997 to 2005, beginning with the months leading up to Princess Diana’s tragic death. Multiple actors have played the members of Queen Elizabeth II’s family tree, with the show notably recasting the Queen herself twice to cover different portions of her life. With The Crown featuring or at least addressing dozens of members of the royal family, it can be difficult to keep track of how they are connected.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926. She ascended to the throne at the age of 25 on February 6, 1952, after the untimely death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation date was the following year on June 2, 1953. However, The Crown began a few years earlier in 1947, when she was just 21 years old. The first episode, “Wolferton Splash,” depicts the wedding of then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
In The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II is portrayed by Claire Foy between the ages of 21-38 years old in seasons 1-2. She is later portrayed by Olivia Colman between the ages of 38-64 years old in seasons 3-4. Queen Elizabeth II is then portrayed by Inelda Staunton, who has played the character since season 5, between the ages of roughly 65-78 years old. Younger versions of Queen Elizabeth II have been portrayed in flashbacks by Verity Russell in seasons 1 and 3 and Viola Prettejohn in season 6.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Children
The recently-crowned King Charles was still just Charles, Prince of Wales, during the events of The Crown, which span from his birth in 1948 in the very first episode, all the way to his middle-aged years in season 6. Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s eldest child and heir to the throne. Prince Charles married his first wife, Princess Diana, in 1981, and had two children: Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. However, they divorced in 1996. Prince Charles later remarried his mistress, Camilla, in 2005, though this has yet to occur during the timeline of The Crown.
Prince Charles is portrayed as a child by Billy Jenkins in seasons 1-2 and by Julian Baring in season 2. Through his teenage and young adult years, Prince Charles was played by Josh O’Connor throughout seasons 3-4. He is portrayed by Dominic West in season 6, who took over the role in season 5.
Princess Anne is Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s second-oldest child and only daughter. She was born less than two years after her older brother, Charles. Given how years at a time can pass by in one episode of The Crown, though, Princess Anne’s birth also took place in the very first episode. Princess Anne later married Captain Mark Phillips in 1973 and had two children with him, Peter and Zara, though they are not depicted in The Crown. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips got divorced in 1992 after three years of separation, and she remarried to Commander Timothy Laurence that same year.
Princess Anne was portrayed as an infant by Amelia and Grace Gilmour in season 1, followed by Lyla Barrett-Rye, who portrayed her as a child in season 2. As Anne got older, Erin Doherty stepped in to portray her as a young woman in seasons 3-4. Currently, Princess Anne is portrayed by Claudia Harrison in season 6, who took over the role in season 5.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s third child and second-eldest son. He was born a whole decade after his older sister, Princess Anne, in 1960. On The Crown, his birth occurred in season 2, episode 7, “Matrimonium.” Prince Andrew went on to marry Sarah Ferguson in 1986, becoming Duke of York. They have two children together, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, though they are not depicted in The Crown. The couple later got divorced in 1996. Prince Andrew is portrayed as a young man by Tom Byrne in season 4. James Murray took over as the troublesome Prince Andrew in season 5.
Prince Edward is Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s youngest child. He was born four years after Prince Andrew in 1964, which occurs in The Crown in season 2, episode 10, “Mystery Man.” As a young man, Prince Edward was portrayed by Angus Imrie in seasons 3-4, and later as an adult by Sam Woolf in season 5. Prince Edward is one of the only adult characters whose actor was recast in season 6, as Sebastian Blunt has taken over from Woolf.
Prince Edward went on to marry Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. The couple then had two kids: Louise in 2003 and James in 2007. However, neither his marriage nor the births of his children have occurred during the timeline of The Crown thus far.
Queen Elizabeth’s Grandchildren
Prince William is Prince Charles’ first child and eldest son with his ex-wife, Princess Diana. He is also Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s third-eldest grandchild, after Princess Anne’s children, who are not portrayed in The Crown. He was born on June 21, 1982. The date of his birth occurs during The Crown season 4, episode 5, “Fagan.”
Prince William is portrayed by Lucas Barber Grant as an infant and Timothée Sambor as a child in season 4. Senan West portrayed William as an older child in season 5. In The Crown season 6, part 1, Prince William is portrayed as a teenager by Rufus Kampa. Ed McVey will portray an older Prince William in part 2 when he begins dating his future wife and future Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton.
Prince Harry, whose real name is Henry, is Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s youngest child and second son. He is also Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s fourth grandchild. He was born two years after Prince William on September 15, 1984, which occurred during season 4, episode 7, “The Hereditary Principle.”
Prince Harry is portrayed as an infant by Arran Tinker in season 4 and as a child by both Teddy Hawley and Will Powell in season 5. Prince Harry was portrayed by Fflyn Edwards as a younger teenager in season 6, part 1. Luther Ford will portray an older version of Prince Harry in part 2.
Other Key Royal Family Members In The Crown
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, is Queen Elizabeth II’s husband and the father of their four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Prince Phillip was 26 years old when he and Queen Elizabeth married in the first episode. He is portrayed as a young adult by Matt Smith in seasons 1-2, then as an older adult by Tobias Menzies in seasons 3-4. Jonathan Pryce began playing the elderly Prince Phillip in season 5 and is currently portraying him in season 6. A younger version of Prince Phillip was portrayed in a flashback by Finn Elliot in season 2.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was the Queen consort to the late King George VI, with whom she had two daughters: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. The middle-aged Queen Mother was portrayed by Victoria Hamilton in seasons 1-2. As she got closer to her 70s, The Queen Mother was then portrayed by Marion Bailey in seasons 3-4. Marcia Warren has been playing her into her 90s since season 5. Though she is still alive at 97 years old in The Crown season 6, part 1, her death on March 30, 2002, will be addressed in The Crown season 6, part 2.
King George VI
King George VI was married to The Queen Mother and was the father of their two daughters, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. He was the ruling King from December 11, 1936 (before the events of The Crown) until his death on February 6, 1952. King George VI died in only the second episode of The Crown season 1, titled, “Hyde Park Corner,” though he has appeared in flashbacks since. He was portrayed by Jared Harris in season 1.
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, is the youngest child and second daughter of King George VI and The Queen Mother. She is also Queen Elizabeth II’s feisty younger sister. Princess Margaret almost married her longtime lover, Peter Townsend, after their affair broke up his marriage. However, she went on to marry Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960, becoming Countess of Snowdon and Earl of Snowdon. Their wedding was depicted in The Crown season 2, episode 7, “Matrimonium.” The couple had two kids, David in 1961 and Sarah in 1964, before getting divorced in 1978.
Princess Margaret was portrayed as a young lady by Vanessa Kirby in seasons 1-2 and as a younger-to-older woman by Helena Bonham Carter in seasons 3-4. Leslie Manville began playing the role of Princess Margaret in season 5 when she entered her 60s and is currently playing her in season 6. Princess Margaret’s death on February 9, 2002, at age 71, mere weeks before her own mother’s death, will be addressed in The Crown season 6, part 2.
Queen Mary was the mother of King George VI, as well as Edward, Duke of Windsor, and the four other royal children she had with King George V. She was also Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret’s grandmother. Queen Mary was portrayed in her 80s by Eileen Atkins in season 1, as well as at 51 years old by Candida Benson in a flashback in season 5. Her death on March 24, 1953, at age 85, and her funeral were portrayed in The Crown season 1, episode 5, “Smoke & Mirrors.”
Edward, Duke of Windsor
Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly known as King Edward III, is the eldest child of Queen Mary and King George V. He is also the older brother of King George VI and four other younger siblings, as well as the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. Edward served as King Edward III for 11 months in 1936 before abdicating the throne to marry American double-divorcee, Wallis Simpson. This move made Queen Elizabeth II the presumptive heir to the throne after her father, which she later fulfilled.
The Duke of Windsor is portrayed by Alex Jennings in seasons 1-2, as well as in a flashback in season 5, between the ages of 53–62. Edward’s death on May 28, 1972, at age 77 was depicted in The Crown season 3, episode 8, “Dangling Man,” in which the Duke of Windsor is portrayed by Derek Jacobi.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
She may be Queen Camilla in the present, but during the events of The Crown up until season 6, part 1, she is still just Camilla Parker Bowles. Camilla is first introduced in season 3, episode 8, “Dangling Man,” where she was portrayed by Emerald Fennell through season 4. Olivia Williams began playing Camilla in season 5 and has continued into season 6.
Camilla was previously married to Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she has two children. Camilla and Andrew got divorced in 1995, after her affair with Prince Charles. Charles and Camilla’s wedding on April 9, 2005, after which she became known as Duchess of Cornwall, is expected to be depicted in The Crown season 6 part 2.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was Prince Charles’ first wife and mother of their two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Lady Diana Spencer had yet to marry Prince Charles and become Princess Diana when she was introduced on The Crown, season 4, episode 1, “Gold Stick.” She married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, thus becoming Princess Diana, at only 20 years old, while Charles was 33 years old. However, Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding was not depicted in The Crown.
Less than a year later, she gave birth to her first child, Prince William, followed by her second child, Prince Harry, two years later. Princess Diana and Prince Charles got divorced in 1996. In The Crown, Princess Diana was portrayed as a young lady by Emma Corrin in season 4. Elizabeth Debicki took over as a slightly older Diana in season 5 and continued to play the role in The Crown, season 6, part 1, which focused heavily on the final months of Princess Diana’s life and the events leading up to her tragic death on August 31, 1997.
Indeed, Kate Middleton has yet to appear on The Crown, let alone marry into the Royal Family and become part of the family tree. Kate and Prince William’s wedding on April 29, 2011, is not even going to be depicted on The Crown at all, since season 6 is the final season and will only go up to 2005. Still, Kate Middleton does go on to become Catherine, Princess of Wales, and viewers will get to meet her in The Crown in season 6, part 2 during the early stages of her budding romance with Prince William. Portraying Kate Middleton on The Crown is Meg Bellamy.
- Release Date:
- Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton, Matt Smith, Tobias Menzies, Jonathan Pryce, Vanessa Kirby, Helena Bonham Carter, Lesley Manville, Victoria Hamilton, Marion Bailey, Marcia Warren
- Main Genre:
- Biography, Drama, History
This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.
As the 1970s are drawing to a close, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) and her family find themselves preoccupied with safeguarding the line of succession by securing an appropriate bride for Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), who is still unmarried at 30. As the nation begins to feel the impact of divisive policies introduced by Britain’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), tensions arise between her and the Queen which only grow worse as Thatcher leads the country into the Falklands War, generating conflict within the Commonwealth. While Charles’ romance with a young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) provides a much-needed fairytale to unite the British people, behind closed doors, the Royal family is becoming increasingly divided.
- Stuart Howell, Adriano Goldman
- Peter Morgan
- Main Characters:
- Peter Townsend, Prince Philip, Anthony Eden, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Queen Mary, Prince Charles, Princess Margaret
- Andy Stebbing, Martin Harrison, Michael Casey, Andrew Eaton, Oona O’Beirn, Faye Ward
- Production Company:
- Sony Pictures Television, Left Bank Pictures
- Sfx Supervisor:
- John Smith, Chris Stoaling
- Peter Morgan
- Number of Episodes: