Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton (Photo: Cosimo Martemucci/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

For a little over 24 hours, we had a new queen. Yesterday, the monumental Frances de la Tour’s foul-mouthed, unhinged animated take on Elizabeth II on Gary Janetti’s controversial and hilarious HBO Max satire The Prince briefly stole our hearts. (Well, my heart. My spleen. All of my viscera!) Not to be out done in the royals department, Netflix anted up this morning with the very first image of Imelda Staunton as the queen in the upcoming fifth season of The Crown.

Oh, the prestige! Oh, the grandeur!

Staunton takes over the role from Olivia Coleman, who played the queen in Seasons 3 and 4 of creator and showrunner Peter Morgan’s historical drama. As fans already know, The Crown chronicles the personal and political struggles of the British royal family throughout the second half of the 20th century, recasting the roles with age-appropriate actors ever two seasons. Coleman took over for Claire Foy, who originated the role in the show’s first two seasons, playing Elizabeth II n her 20s and 30s. Staunton’s two season run will reportedly be the show’s last, with Season 5 covering the turbulent 1990s.

“I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion,” Staunton said when her casting was announced in early 2020.

The new queen will likely spend much of the upcoming season once again facing off against Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki, taking over after Emma Corrin’s electrifying, star-making performance last season). The Princess of Wales’s divorce from Prince Charles (Dominic West, replacing Josh O’Connor) and her subsequent tabloid antics dominated media coverage of the royals in the ’90s. And we all know how that ended.

thoughts?