The Crown Season 5 Opens With a Surprising Cameo By [Spoiler]

On Nov. 9, Netflix released the highly anticipated fifth season of The Crown, which featured an unexpected cameo in the premiere episode.

By Alyssa Ray Nov 09, 2022 11:38 PMTags
Watch: Imelda Staunton Talks Seeing Herself in Full Character on The Crown

Netflix marked The Crown's return with a royally good surprise.

The fifth season premiere, which hit the streamer Nov. 9, did not open with the period drama's new Queen Elizabeth II, played by Imelda Staunton. Rather, the critically acclaimed series chose to kick off its highly anticipated new season with a flashback scene featuring the queen who started it all: seasons one and two's Queen Elizabeth, Claire Foy.

In the unexpected cameo, Claire's Elizabeth addresses her subjects and reveals the name of the new royal yacht, Britannia. "I hope that this brand-new vessel, like your brand-new queen," she says, "will prove to be dependable and constant, capable of weathering any storm."

As the scene concludes, The Crown cuts to Imelda's Elizabeth, who is now 65 and viewed as an outdated monarch by her people. The juxtaposition certainly teases the drama to come for season five's Elizabeth—including Prince Charles and Princess Diana's crumbling marriage, questions about government spending for the royal's way of life, etc.

The Crown Cast Vs. the Royals They Play

All is not well in Buckingham Palace, that's for sure.

Claire's season five cameo is not her first since wrapping her run as the long-reigning monarch in 2017. She previously reprised her royal in season four, episode eight, titled "48:1," in which a 21-year-old Elizabeth makes a radio broadcast from South Africa. Claire won the Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for this cameo.

Imelda takes the crown, pun intended, from season three and four star Olivia Colman. And while the Harry Potter alum makes for an impressive third act in The Crown's tenure, Imelda hailed the production's hair and makeup team for helping her with her notable transformation.

"Because of the design, the costume, the wig, the makeup," she exclusively said to E! News, "you think, 'They've all done the work, and I'm just inside it.' And then, the work hopefully that I've done inside will serve what they've done on the outside."


Jonathan Pryce, who joins The Crown's fifth season as Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, expressed a similar sentiment. "I don't recognize myself when I see myself on the screen as Philip," he said of his transformation. "It's quite gratifying."

Catch Imelda and Jonathan step into these royal roles, as season five of The Crown is now available to stream on Netflix.

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