After two seasons of playing the Queen to critical acclaim, Claire Foy abdicated from the part and passed on her tiara to Olivia Colman, who plays an older version of the Queen. The Broadchurch actress has brought a series of changes to the monarch in an impressive season three of the much-loved Netflix show. As Olivia talks about change in episode one, 'Nothing one can do about it. One simply has to get on with it,' and just like that we are introduced to a colder, more equipped version of the royal as the show enters the Swinging Sixties.
Olivia makes the role her own
Like the two series before it, each episode of the series focuses on a different moment during the Queen's reign, be it focused on her or a member of her famous family. Thanks to the passage of time, the teenage Charles and Anne are brought much more into focus here, and with them bring a surprisingly sad perspective on what being a child in the royal family, particularly the Queen's heir at a young age, must have felt like. Like its predecessors, the show also takes on the political side of the Queen's reign, this time focusing on Harold Wilson's Labour government, played by a fantastic Jason Watkins. The show feels surprisingly relatable to present day troubles, with the country so at odds with itself that coups are plotted, the pound is devalued and newspapers stir up the turmoil to infuriate the public.
Erin Doherty shines as Princess Anne
There is also tragedy. We can only imagine what a challenge it must have been for Olivia, a naturally emotional actress, to remain stoney faced during some of the more harrowing events that are portrayed in the series as we sob into a box of Kleenex at home. In fact, the Queen's famously hard-faced emotional state is an element in the show that comes up time and time again. Finally comfortable in her role as sovereign, Olivia's Queen is one who has become somewhat desensitised to the horrors taking place in her country, as well as within her own family. She is by-and-large cold and matter-of-fact, making the glimpses of heartbreak that we see all the more impactful. Despite being a fictional show based on true events, it will surely stir curiosity in viewers regarding how she handled certain situations over the decades, particularly concerning the treatment of her son and heir, Prince Charles.
Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles
As for the other new cast members, it is a win-win all round. The show's casting department couldn't have got it more perfect, with Tobias Menzies doing an astonishingly good impression of Prince Philip, newcomer Erin Doherty portraying a younger, fiery and instantly likeable Princess Anne, and Helena Bonham Carter dazzling as the showy Princess Margaret, who simmers with hidden resentments as never quite being allowed to shine as much as she could. We have to give a shout out to Charles Dance too, who will surely receive a guest star Emmy nod for his turn as Lord Mountbatten. The breakout star, though, has to be Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles. Watching him, it feels like no one but him could have ever played the teenage Prince of Wales so perfectly.
Tobias Menzies plays Prince Philip
While the series does dip on occasion when the subject matter falters, this is an excellent follow-up to the first two seasons in a show that has proven that a change of cast doesn't take away from the thing that makes it so successful, the world's fascination with the British royal family.
The Crown season three will land on Netflix on Sunday 17 November