The Crown is a historical drama television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, created and principally written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. Morgan developed it from his drama film The Queen (2006) and especially his stage play The Audience (2013). The first season covers the period from Elizabeth's marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Princess Margaret's engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend in 1955. The second season covers the period from the Suez Crisis in 1956 to the retirement of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963 and the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. The third season spans 1964 to 1977, includes Harold Wilson's two periods as prime minister, and introduces Camilla Shand. The fourth season spans 1979 to the early 1990s and includes Margaret Thatcher's tenure as prime minister and Prince Charles's marriage to Lady Diana Spencer. The fifth and sixth seasons, which will close the series, will cover the Queen's reign into the 21st century.
For each of the two-season increments, new actors fill the roles to reflect the ageing process over the periods of time portrayed. Claire Foy portrays the Queen in the first two seasons, alongside Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret. For the third and fourth seasons, Olivia Colman takes over as the Queen, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. Also added to the cast in season three is Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles. In the fourth season, new cast members include Emma Corrin as Lady Diana Spencer and Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, and Lesley Manville will succeed Colman, Menzies, and Bonham Carter, respectively, for the final two seasons, while Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki will take the roles of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. Filming takes place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with location shooting throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The first season was released by Netflix on 4 November 2016, the second on 8 December 2017, the third on 17 November 2019, and the fourth on 15 November 2020. The fifth season is anticipated in November 2022. As of 2020, the estimated production budget of The Crown has been reported to be $260 million, making it one of the most expensive ever television series.The Crown has been praised by critics for its acting, directing, writing, cinematography, and production values, though its historical inaccuracies have received some criticism, particularly within the fourth season. It has received numerous accolades, including a total of sixty-three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for its first four seasons, winning twenty-one, including Outstanding Drama Series for its fourth season, and seven awards for the cast. The series has also twice won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Drama, at the 74th and 78th ceremonies, with additional acting wins for Foy, Colman, Corrin, O'Connor and Anderson.