Darcie unpacks the first three stellar seasons of ‘The Crown‘ ahead of the launch of Season 4

Season 4 of the acclaimed British drama The Crown airs on the 15th November 2020 on Netflix.  The show follows the British royal family from 1947 onwards. The show has been known to take artistic license with history at points and at times has been controversial, season four will introduce Princess Diana so this season is likely to be the most controversial yet. A lot has happened in three seasons so before the fourth season is released I thought a catch-up was due. In this post, I will do a quick run-through of each season so far so we are ready for more royal drama on the 15th.


Season One

Key cast: Clair Foy as The Queen, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Victoria Hamilton as The Queen Mother, Ben Miles as Peter Townsend.

Key Plot Points:

  • Princess Elizabeth (aka The Queen) marries Prince Philip. As newlyweds they move to Malta for four years, only returning when King George is in ill health. Whilst in Malta Prince Charles and Princess Anna is born.
  • Whilst in Kenya on a commonwealth tour Elizabeth learns that King George her father has passed away, she returns to the UK in the role of sovereign.
  • Princess Margaret can’t resist an affair with the married Peter Townsend, and they are hardly sneaky.
  • There’s a plot to get Churchill to step down as Prime Minister.
  • Prince Philips makes a fair few insensitive comments throughout. He wants to live at Clarence House, not Buckingham Palace, he wants the children to take his surname.
  • Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson make an appearance at the funeral.  He is after money and status for Wallis.
  • There is a poisonous fog that Churchill insists will start. This almost results in The Queen asking him to step down but he manages to deal with the situation.
  • It’s finally Coronation day. The Coronation happens. Philip has to kneel to The Queen something he is displeased to do. Edward who was disinvited hosts a coronation party at his home in Paris.
  • Princess Margaret and a now divorced Peter want to get married.  The Queen stops this ‘scandal’ from happening and Peter is sent away.
  • There is a lot of politics. Including Churchill hiding his strokes from The Queen, which she is not happy about.
  • The Queen smiles so much she has to get injections for a cheek spasm.
  • Churchill finally resigns.
  • Margaret and Peter still wish to get married but are now unable because he is divorced and parliament would have to permit them. The press hound the couple and the public love the relationship. The Queen will let Margaret renounce her title and marry Peter abroad. The couple split.
  • The season ends with Philip being sent away to Australia to work on his attitude.


Season Two

Key cast: Clair Foy as The Queen, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Victoria Hamilton as The Queen Mother, Ben Miles as Peter Townsend, Matthew Goode as Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Key Plot Points:

  • We pick up five months later. The Queen and Philip are in Lisbon. They are surrounded by rumors of instability and Philip’s womanizing.  We then jump back.
  • The Queen has to deal with the Suez Canal war. Which results in the worst week for the country since 1939.
  • Philip is on his banishment tour getting into all sorts of mischief.
  • We then jump back to Lisbon, and a very unhappy Queen and Philip.
  • Margaret is lonely, she agrees to marry her friend Billy Wallace. A pairing the Queen agrees with.  Margaret however calls off the engagement. She later meets Tony, a photographer, and socialite.
  • Margaret asks Tony to take a picture of her.  He does but the picture breaks royal protocols when it is shared on Margaret’s request to the press. The photo shows her looking naked from the chest up.
  • The Queen wars with Lord Altrincham over a speech The Queen gives. This leads to the television debut of the Christmas speech and the acknowledgment that the monarchy needs to change.
  • Edward returns in hunt of a job, to give his life purpose.
  • Documents are discovered that reveal Edward to have been a Nazi sympathizer.  The Queen confronts him and tells him he is no longer welcome in England.


  • Peter Townsend writes to Margaret to inform her he plans to marry a 19-year-old.  Margaret tells Tony and almost proposes to him. But Tony is having multiple relationships. He eventually chooses Margaret, he picks her up from Buckingham Palace on a motorbike and proposes to her.
  • The Queen asks for information on Tony, she learns about his relationships and that one of the women may be pregnant with his baby.
  • The Queen does not tell Margaret. Margaret and Tony marry.
  • JFK and Jackie visit the Queen.  The Queen is worried that Jackie will outshine her.
  • The Queen felt the visit went well, Jackie thought Buckingham Palace was nothing more than a second rate hotel and that the Queen was unremarkable. However, they make amends and Jackie reveals that pills made her loose-lipped about the Queen.
  • At one point the Queen is alerted of the Kennedy assassination. She places the palace into full mourning something that is normally reserved for family.
  • Prince Charles is bullied at school for being shy. Because of this, we get Philips back story.
  • There is a year time jump where the Profumo affair takes place.
  • The season ends with Elizabeth giving birth. The end shows the royal family gathers for a photo, the monarchy is in disarray.


Season Three

Key Cast: Oliva Coleman as The Queen, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Marion Bailey as The Queen Mother, Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong-Jones, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne.

Key Plot Points:

  • We begin in 1964, the labor party wins the election. Margaret and Tony’s relationship is full of tension. The Queen is worried about new prime minister Wilson. Churchill dies.
  • Margaret and Tony set off on a royal tour of America, to help the alliance.  Margaret manages to secure the money needed in the UK from President Johnson and even manages to challenge him to a drinking contest.
  • The 1966 Aberfan Disaster happens. The Queen refuses to visit the town because she thinks it is not her place. Philip and Tony pay their respects to the victims but the Queen is determined to stay out of it. Eventually, she goes, she is encouraged to show emotion whilst there.
  • The Queen rescues and moves Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark into Buckingham Palace.
  • England is having money troubles despite the money Margaret secured from Johnson. Wilson is blamed by multiple sources.
  • The Queen takes a horse focused holiday, but it is interrupted by Wilson who says he needs her support or he’ll become anti-monarchy.


  • Prince Charles gets sent to Wales to learn Welsh. He gives a speech in Welsh that his mother The Queen cannot understand. The crowd approves as he slips in some lines about Welsh identity. The Queen gets a translation of the speech and is angry.
  • The moon landing happens. Philip is at a bit of a loose end so the Queen forms him a club.
  • The Queen invites the astronauts to the palace and allows Philip to have a private meeting with them. The astronauts do not have answers for Philip’s extensive questions which leave him crushed.
  • Camilla is introduced and it turns out Charles is smitten with Camilla. But Camilla just broke up with Andrew Parker Bowels because he was seeing Princess Anne.
  • The Queen visits a dying Edward.
  • Charles wants to introduce Camilla to the family but finds out through a lot of scheming on the Queen Mothers’ part with cooperation from Anne that Camilla is still in love with Andrew. He then leaves for eight months.
  • Tony has begun to see another woman, Margaret is hurt but won’t divorce him. Margaret has an affair with Roddy. Photos are taken of the pair together on a beach which no one is happy about.  Tony and Margaret fight, Roddy disappears for good.
  • Margaret overdoses on pills, the Queen Mothers sees it as attention seeking the Queen however rushes to be with her sister. Once recovered Margaret announces she is divorcing Tony, the Queen is not angry.
  • The season ends with the Queen preparing for her Silver Jubilee.


So there you have it all three seasons of The Crown recapped! The drama is only going to get more intense as we move forward into season 4.


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Darcie Gray is a regular contributor to The Future of the Force. Aside from being a passionate Star Wars fan, she loves every genre of movies and she channels her passion for film into her blog Just Another Film Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Darcie_Letitia where she shares her love of film regularly.


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