From the Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images.
bowed on Netflix, fans have been wondering how long it will take the sumptuous period drama to reach the ill-fated marriage of Prince Charles and Diana. Because the show’s first season, which starred Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, spanned 1947 and 1955, viewers worried that it would take at least three or four more seasons until the drama catches up to Charles and Diana’s 1977 meeting, 1981 wedding, and subsequent marriage. But series creator and writer Peter Morgan has revealed that
will tackle the monarchy-marriage drama sooner than expected.
Princess Diana will be introduced toward the end of Season 3, Morgan confirms in a new interview with
, with Seasons 4 and 5 “heavily” focused on her as one of the main characters. To facilitate the time jump, the series will recast the major roles with older actors who can better portray Elizabeth, Philip, Charles, etc. as they age.
, which is very much Team Monarchy, approaches the relationship, which began somewhat informally in 1977 when Charles and Diana met through her sister, whom Charles was dating at the time. When Diana became a princess, the world largely sympathized with her—a deft manipulator of her public image—as opposed to her less-photogenic and less P.R.-savvy husband. But Morgan will likely offer a new, Charles-sympathetic perspective to the royal marriage. In
, for example, Morgan depicted Charles as a responsible and caring father frustrated by the old-fashioned, out-of-touch constraints dictated by the monarchy. And he depicted Diana, at least through Queen Elizabeth’s eyes, as a drama-stirring, attention-hogging, trouble-making headache to the family.
Before getting to Diana, though, Morgan and Co. are busily filming the show’s second season, which will debut in late 2017 and, according to
, “feature a greater emphasis on the life of Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip and introduce a greater role for her oldest son and direct heir, Prince Charles.”
“We start to focus on Charles as a young boy and his education, and on Philip and his backstory,” Morgan told the magazine. Executive producer Suzanne Mackie added, “We glance backward to Philip’s childhood and his upbringing, and how that might have impacted him as a man, a father and as Prince Consort—which is fascinating.”
The new series, which will be set from 1957 through 1964, will also show the monarchy continue to struggle in an evolving world.
“It’s goodbye to a different, Edwardian, post-Imperial world,” Morgan said. “We get a classlessness and a modernity beginning to creep in. It is going to be terrific.”
’s Vanessa Kirby earlier this year, the British actress also offered us some second-season clues about her own character, Princess Margaret, whose tragic romance with Peter Townsend was depicted in the show’s first season.
“She meets [the photographer and her eventual husband] Antony Armstrong-Jones, and she goes head first into a completely new, exciting, dangerous, volatile, dysfunctional relationship and then marriage,” Kirby told us of Margaret, who had a reputation for rubbing elbows with the movie stars and musicians of the era.
“Tony starts this whole trail of a more bohemian life outside,” Kirby said. “Margaret was best friends with Elizabeth Taylor, and she had loads of American actress friends and singers. You see these two worlds collide—hers and Tony’s, who is a member of the public and was a creative, liberal, dark horse. Meanwhile she is this epitome of the establishment. I’ve been doing tons of research about it recently, and seen people say there was never such an ill-fated match because Margaret and Tony were just so alike personality-wise that he was the opposite of Peter.”
To read the rest of the interview with Kirby, click here.
Claire Foy is photographed for her portrait as Queen Elizabeth II in full regalia, in what the Queen wore to her coronation ceremony in 1953. Foy portrays a young but steadfast Elizabeth as she assumes the throne at the age of 25.
A car fit for a king! Julian Broad captures a brooding Matt Smith (best known as Doctor Who) in his role as a youthful Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband. In preparation for the part, Smith gleaned inside information by talking to a former officer of the British royal household.
earned her a BAFTA nomination, is equally magnificent in her latest turn as Queen of England.
Vanessa Kirby plays Princess Margaret, the Queen’s late sister and her closest confidante. Kirby presents Margaret in a more vivacious and sultry light—a side of her character less exposed and commonly explored when depicting the royal sisters.
Smith cuts a dashing figure in Prince Philip’s ceremonial dress, complete with military medals.
John Lithgow stars as the indomitable Winston Churchill, whose relationship with the Queen (almost 50 years his junior) as prime minister was the stimulus from which the entire series developed. Lithgow trained for hours with a dialect coach in order to perfect his rendering of perhaps the 20th century’s most famed British orator.
The principal cast is photographed here on location at Lancaster House in London. Eileen Atkins and Victoria Hamilton star alongside Kirby, Foy, and Smith as Queen Mary (Elizabeth’s grandmother) and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
Julie MillerJulie Miller is a Senior Hollywood writer for
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