The Crown (season 3)

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The Crown (season 3)
The Crown season 3.jpeg
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom[1]
  • United States[2]
No. of episodes10
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
List of The Crown episodes

The third season of The Crown follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It consists of ten episodes and was released on Netflix on November 17, 2019.

Olivia Colman stars as Elizabeth, along with main cast members Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Daniels, Jason Watkins, Marion Bailey, Erin Doherty, Jane Lapotaire, Charles Dance, Josh O'Connor, Geraldine Chaplin, Michael Maloney, Emerald Fennell, and Andrew Buchan. John Lithgow and Pip Torrens return in cameo appearances.[3]

Premise[edit]

The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 through to the present day.[4]

Season three covers the time period between 1964 and 1977, beginning with Harold Wilson's election as prime minister and ending with the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[5] Events depicted include the unmasking of the Queen's art adviser Sir Anthony Blunt as a Soviet spy,[6] Harold Wilson and Edward Heath's respective times as prime minister,[7][3] the Aberfan disaster,[8] the Apollo 11 moon landing,[9] the 1969 Investiture of Prince Charles,[10] the death of the Duke of Windsor,[11] the death and state funeral of Winston Churchill,[12] and Princess Margaret's eight-year affair with baronet and gardening expert Roddy Llewellyn and suicide attempt that leads to the Princess's divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1978.[13][14] US President Lyndon B. Johnson and Camilla Shand are also introduced.[3][15]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Featured[edit]

The below actors are credited in the opening titles of single episodes in which they play a significant role.

Recurring[edit]

Notable guests[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
211"Olding"Benjamin CaronPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
In 1964, as Britain welcomes new Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Elizabeth hears rumors that Wilson is working for the KGB under the alias "Olding". She initially rebuffs them as gossip, but later learns from a dying Winston Churchill that he was suspicious of Wilson during his time as Prime Minister. Elsewhere, Margaret, now Countess of Snowdon, suffers from a failing marriage to Tony. The following year, while attending Churchill's funeral, Elizabeth witnesses Wilson engage in conversation with Russians. In Washington, D.C., a sleeper agent informs the Department of Justice of a KGB mole inside Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth later discovers art advisor Sir Anthony Blunt is the mole and apologizes to Wilson, but decides to keep the truth secret for fear of a damaged reputation. Philip confronts Blunt in private and learns he possesses knowledge of the Profumo affair.
222"Margaretology"Benjamin CaronPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
In 1965, Margaret and Tony embark on a tour of the United States, visiting major cities along the West Coast and an Arizona family before attending Tony's book launch in New York. Back in the United Kingdom, Wilson tells Elizabeth the country needs a financial bailout from President Lyndon B. Johnson and invites him to discuss the issue. After three failed attempts, Wilson concludes the reason Johnson declined their invitation is that the United Kingdom failed to support America in the Vietnam War. At the last minute, Johnson invites Margaret to a private dinner at the White House, where she manages to persuade him to help with the bailout. Philip later advises Elizabeth not to give her any more responsibilities.
233"Aberfan"Benjamin CaronPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
In October 1966, following the Aberfan disaster, Elizabeth decides to postpone a visit to the village despite Wilson's attempts to convince her otherwise. Philip, however, attends the funeral of the children who died. The public blames the National Coal Board for the disaster before shifting blame onto the government. After receiving a letter criticizing her for not being sympathetic, Elizabeth confronts Wilson, who says it came from someone in his ranks. Elizabeth later visits Aberfan, laying flowers on graves and visiting grieving family members, and meets with Wilson about her lack of emotion. In private, she cries while listening to a recording of the song sung at the children's funeral.
244"Bubbikins"Benjamin CaronPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
In 1967, Wilson tells Elizabeth that Princess Alice, who has been living in Athens, Greece, is in danger from the recent imposition of military rule. Elizabeth arranges for Alice to come to the United Kingdom and stay at Buckingham Palace despite Philip's protests. As Elizabeth and Anne look after Alice, the royal family participates in a documentary to show they are normal people. Critics rebuff the documentary following its airing, prompting Philip to arrange an interview with The Guardian reporter John Armstrong. Armstrong, however, interviews Alice instead and the subsequent article is published to success, resulting in Philip making amends with his mother.
255"Coup"Christian SchwochowPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
In 1968, Elizabeth and Porchey travel to France and America to look at racehorses while Wilson decides to devalue the pound. Cecil Harmsworth King meets with Lord Mountbatten, proposing a plan to replace Wilson. Though initially skeptical, Mountbatten accepts the idea, but later states it cannot happen without authorization. Wilson calls Elizabeth and brings up his suspicions. Upon her return, Elizabeth scolds Mountbatten, who later visits Alice to discuss their old age and place in society.
266"Tywysog Cymru"Christian SchwochowJames Graham & Peter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
On advice from Wilson, Elizabeth decides to take Charles away from university at Cambridge, where he has finally found some happiness and a taste for amateur dramatics, and send him for three months to Wales to study and learn the language prior to his investiture as Prince of Wales. There he befriends his Welsh tutor, Tedi Millward, and becomes sympathetic to Millward's Welsh nationalism. Charles's decision to include statements in his investiture speech which effectively express support for Wales angers Elizabeth, who has his speech translated after he has delivered it. Charles requests a meeting with his mother, hoping for appreciation or even some affection, but receives neither and instead is rebuked that he must remain impartial and should suppress his opinions. Charles returns to acting in a play at Cambridge, where Anne is among the audience.
277"Moondust"Jessica HobbsPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
Amid the first moon landing, Prince Philip feels dissatisfied with his lack of achievement and searches for inspiration. When the Apollo 11 astronauts visit Buckingham Palace, Philip arranges a private interview. He asks them what the moon landing was like and, expecting "gods", is disappointed by their mundane replies. They in turn ask him what it is like to live in Buckingham Palace. He criticises the Dean of Windsor as boring, prompting Elizabeth to have the Dean retire. His replacement as Dean, Robin Woods, opens a new 'religious academy for personal and spiritual growth' in the castle grounds. Philip is invited to take part, and although he resists at first, he eventually shares his experience with the group at the academy, and becomes friends with Woods.
288"Dangling Man"Sam DonovanDavid Hancock & Peter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
This episode explores the beginning of the love triangle between Prince Charles, Andrew Parker Bowles, and Parker Bowles' girlfriend Camilla Shand, and Princess Anne's affair with Andrew Parker Bowles. It also deals with Elizabeth's final meeting with the Duke of Windsor, shortly before his death in 1972. They reflect upon the circumstances that led to Elizabeth's becoming Queen; he asks for her forgiveness, but she also remarks that she is sometimes thankful that he abdicated. He gives her the letters that Prince Charles has written to him, which she later reads with concern, in which he vows to be an individual. Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister following the 1970 general election.
299"Imbroglio"Sam DonovanPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
This episode deals with the Miners' Strike of 1974, and Lord Mountbatten and Queen Elizabeth's successful plot to stop the relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Shand - Charles is told his relationship is over and is posted overseas for 8 months. After the Queen Mother talks to the parents of Andrew Parker-Bowles and Camilla Shand, the wedding takes place between Andrew and Camilla. The Queen, initially sympathising with Charles, hears from Anne about her affair with Andrew Parker-Bowles and her belief that Camilla is destined for him not Charles.
3010"Cri de Coeur"Jessica HobbsPeter MorganNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
This episode deals with the breakdown of Margaret and Tony's marriage, and their extramarital relationships with Roddy Llewellyn and Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, respectively. It also sees Elizabeth's silver jubilee, celebrated in 1977.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

By October 2017, "early production" had begun on an anticipated third and fourth season,[16] and by the following January, Netflix confirmed the series had been renewed for a third and fourth season.[7]

Casting[edit]

The producers recast some roles with older actors every two seasons, as the timeline moves forward and the characters age.[29] In October 2017, Olivia Colman was cast as Queen Elizabeth II for the third and fourth seasons.[16] By January 2018, Helena Bonham Carter and Paul Bettany were in negotiations to portray Princess Margaret and Prince Philip, respectively, for these seasons.[30][31] However, by the end of the month Bettany was forced to drop out due to the time commitment required.[14] By the end of March 2018, Tobias Menzies was cast as Prince Philip for the third and fourth seasons.[17] In early May 2018, Bonham Carter was confirmed to have been cast, alongside Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson.[18] The next month, Ben Daniels was cast as Antony Armstrong-Jones for the third season,[19] along with Erin Doherty joining the series as Princess Anne.[20] A month later, Josh O'Connor and Marion Bailey were cast as Prince Charles and the Queen Mother, respectively, for the third and fourth seasons.[23] In October 2018, Emerald Fennell was cast as Camilla Shand.[26] In December 2018, Charles Dance was cast as Louis Mountbatten.[22] In April 2019, Emma Corrin was cast as Lady Diana Spencer for the fourth season.[32]

Filming[edit]

The third season began filming in July 2018.[33]

Release[edit]

The third season was released on Netflix worldwide in its entirety on November 17, 2019,[34][18][35][36] and consists of ten episodes.[28]

Reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reported a 88% approval rating for the third season based on 78 reviews, with an average rating of 8.38/10. Its critical consensus reads: "Olivia Colman shines, but as The Crown marches on in reliably luxurious fashion through time it finds space for the characters around her, providing ample opportunity for the appealing ensemble to gleam, too."[37] On Metacritic, the season holds a score of 85 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[38]

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Anita Singh called the series "by far, the best soap opera on television."[39] The Los Angeles Times's Lorraine Ali praised the attention to historical detail and cast performances, particularly Colman and Bonham Carter.[40] The Guardian's Lucy Mangan praised the "top-notch performances" from the cast, adding that the season is "so confident and so precision-engineered that you don't notice the defects".[21] Daniel Fienberg for The Hollywood Reporter judged the cast transition to be a success, adding the series "remains a model for carefully crafted episodic storytelling".[5]

Some criticism was leveled at the lack of nuance from the writing. The BBC's Hugh Montgomery found the writing "increasingly on the nose", though the season was "the best yet".[41] Alison Rowat from The Herald opined some scenes were "over-engineered" and dialogue "too on the nose", but nevertheless the series excels as a political drama.[42] Vulture's Jen Chaney similarly found the writing "a bit heavy-handed" in nevertheless "an absorbing, thoroughly enriching experience".[28] Reviewing for Variety, Caroline Framke thought the series does not always succeed in humanizing the royal family, but when it does, it is "as compelling a portrait of how power warps individuals, and the world along with them, as exists on TV."[24]

Ed Power from The Independent was less complimentary, praising Colman's performance but finding the series somewhat "colourless".[43]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Brown, Mick (November 3, 2016). "The Crown: Claire Foy and Matt Smith on the making of the £100m Netflix series". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Meet the cast of The Crown season 3". RadioTimes. November 17, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  4. ^ Singh, Anita (August 19, 2015). "£100m Netflix Series Recreates Royal Wedding". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
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  6. ^ Collis, Clark (August 14, 2019). "God Save the Queen: The new stars of The Crown open up about the royal gamble of season 3". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 14, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
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  11. ^ Sarene Leeds (November 19, 2019). "The Crown Recap: The Right Woman". Vulture. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
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  13. ^ Sandwell, Ian (January 23, 2017). "Downton Abbey's Matthew Goode is joining the cast of Netflix's The Crown". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Miller, Julie (January 25, 2018). "The Crown's Third Season Is Minus a Prince Philip as Paul Bettany Bows Out". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
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  39. ^ Singh, Anita (November 4, 2019). "The Crown, season 3 Netflix review: TV's best soap opera is back and this time it's Prince Charles we feel sorry for". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  40. ^ Ali, Lorraine (November 4, 2019). "Review: 'The Crown' shines brighter than ever in Season 3". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  41. ^ Montgomery, Hugh (November 4, 2019). "The Crown series 3 is the best yet". BBC. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
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