Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was revelatory, damning, and deeply heartbreaking. For fans of Netflix’s monarchy drama The Crown, it was also incredible material for an upcoming season of the show. A grand royal wedding, the first biracial woman joining the family, and their eventual split from Buckingham Palace? With salacious details and palace intrigue? The story practically writes itself.
Unfortunately, The Crown will not cover the Markle years. Series creator Peter Morgan told the Hollywood Reporter in 2020 that is a creative decision as much as an ethical one. “I'm much more comfortable writing about things that happened at least 20 years ago,” he said. “That is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance.” In other words, Markle and Harry’s life is too close to our own — time is the greatest contextualizer, and we won’t understand the impact of their story until years from now.
The show will also run for six seasons, as per Morgan’s original plan with Netflix. Queen Elizabeth II will be played by Imelda Staunton; worldwide fans may remember her terrifying reign as Dolores Umbridge in two Harry Potter films, but she is also a storied theater and musical actress in England.
Seasons five and six will likely cover the 1990s and early 2000s, possibly ending with the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2012, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Don’t worry, there is much fodder for royal drama during those years: the queen famously referred to 1992 as her “annus horribilis,” or “horrible year.” In the span of that year, there was a fire in her home at Windsor Castle, and three royal marriages dissolved. Her daughter, Princess Anne, divorced her husband Mark Phillips, Prince Andrew and Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson separated, and of course, Prince Charles and Diana Spencer’s marriage spectacularly collapsed. Staunton will certainly have her hands full of scandal.