'The Crown' to Begin Filming Season 5 of Netflix Series This Summer

Netflix is getting ready to begin production on its hit historical drama The Crown Season 5. According to a new report from Variety, production on the next batch of episodes is set to begin in July. The majority of the series is filmed in Elstree Studios, just north of London. Although the U.K. is currently in its third national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions are expected to ease beginning April 12, though the series will film under strict COVID-19 protocols.

Keeping in line with past seasons, Season 5 will cover a full decade of the Queen's reign, with the upcoming batch of episodes set to document the family's lives throughout the '90s. This means the season will cover Princess Diana's tragic death in 1997 at the age of 36, something that sent shockwaves not just through the U.K., but the entire world. Given that the series covers large periods of time, the next season will also feature fresh faces, with the cast of Seasons 3 and 4 being replaced with a new cast starring Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki starring as Diana, among several others.

The Season 5 development comes amid a tumultuous time for the royals. On Friday morning, Prince Philip passed away "peacefully" at Windsor Castle at the age of 99, Her Majesty confirmed via a Buckingham Palace statement. Following news of his passing, the creators of the Netflix series said they were "deeply saddened."

"Netflix, Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television and the production team on The Crown are deeply saddened to hear of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh," the statement, obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, read. "Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time."

Throughout the series, Philip has featured heavily, with various actors taking on the role of the prince throughout the decades of the Queen's reign. In Seasons 1 and 2, Matt Smith took on the role opposite Claire Foy's Queen, earning him a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the 2018 Emmy Awards. In Seasons 3 and 4, Tobias Menzies took over. In the series' final two seasons, legendary British actor Jonathan Pryce is set to portray the royal. When his casting was confirmed in August 2020, Pryce called the opportunity "a joy."

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Initially premiering on Netflix in November of 2016, The Crown is set to run for a total of six seasons, bringing the series up to the early 2000s. This means that more recent developments within the royal family, including Philip's death, the births of the youngest royal children, and the drama surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit as working royals, will not be covered. The first four seasons of the series are available for streaming on Netflix. At this time, Season 5 does not have a premiere date.