Netflix on Friday released a first look at Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown Season 5. The upcoming fifth season of the historical drama, which is currently in production in the U.K., will mark Staunton's first as the Queen. The actress is taking over the role from Olivia Colman, who portrayed the monarch in Seasons 3 and 4 and likewise took over the role from Claire Foy, who held the role in the first two seasons.
In the Friday-released image, which also doubled as the first official image from Season 5, Staunton appears in the Palace as the monarch now in her mid-60s. Netflix first shared the image to Twitter alongside the caption, "An early glimpse of our new Queen Elizabeth II, Imelda Staunton." At this time, no further images from the season have been released. Speaking of taking on the prominent role, Staunton previously admitted she was "frightened," noting that in Season 5, "we start in 1991 playing someone much more recent. That's the extra challenge I have, people saying, 'Oh, I don't think she's like that at all.'"
Debuting on Netflix back in 2016, the critically acclaimed drama documents a decade of the Queen's reign per season. After tackling the '80s, a tumultuous decade for the British royals, in Season 4, Season 5 is set to cover the '90s. The decade was a notably difficult time for the royals, as it included the Queen's self-proclaimed "annus horribilis" in 1992, the year during which three of her four children separated from or divorced their partners. This included Prince Charles and Princess Diana's divorce. That year also saw the family shadowed in controversy, including the scandal that was Charles' affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Reflecting on the year during her Ruby Jubilee, the Queen said, "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis." The decade also included a fire at Windsor Castle, the Queen's golden wedding anniversary, and the deaths of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, and the Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in 1997. It is unclear how the series intends to cover that tragic event. Season 6, meanwhile, will take place during the early 2000s.
Given that The Crown refreshes its cast every two seasons, Staunton won't be the only new cast member. Season 5 is also set to star Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, and Dominic West as Prince Charles. Johnny Lee Miller, meanwhile, will portray John Major, who served as prime minister and leader of the UK's Conservative party from 1990 to 1997.
The Crown has been one of Netflix's most successful series. The show recently picked up 24 Emmy nominations, tying with Disney+'s The Mandalorian. The first four seasons are available for streaming on Netflix, with Season 5 not expected to debut until 2022.