Just like those fluffy-hatted gents eternally rotating in front of Buckingham Palace, The Crown’s splendid third season brings forth a sea change of actors to portray the Windsor family: this time during their prime mid-life crisis years. Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, and Helena Bonham Carter lead the cast as the royal triad of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and Princess Margaret, respectively, while a bunch of other British VIPs round out the supporting players for even more palace intrigue. If you, like us, are curious to see just how similar the show’s fictional depictions are to their real-life ’60s and ’70s counterparts, look no further. (We also added some details about what to expect with each character, too.) Analyze away!
Queen Elizabeth II (Played by Olivia Colman)
This season covers our girl ruling Britannia from 1964 to 1977, when, among other matters of the palace and matters of the heart, she deals with the following in no particular order: her heir apparent’s ever-increasing sex drive, two new prime ministers of varying talents, and one of the biggest catastrophes in U.K. history. At least her faithful corgis are still by her side.
Prince Philip (Played by Tobias Menzies)
The mid-life crisis arguably hits Prince Philip harder than the rest of the royal family, who, thanks to a combination of his mother’s death and the Apollo moon landing, begins to question how fulfilling his life is (or isn’t) within the constraints of Buckingham Palace. He also spearheads a much-derided film about the Windsors, which has been banned since 1972.
Princess Margaret (Played by Helena Bonham Carter)
The cult of “Margaretology” comes front and center thanks to the princess’s continuing ascent to international tabloid stardom in the ’60s, which is bolstered by many boozy overseas trips (like to the White House!) and even boozier overseas affairs. But juicy Daily Mail headlines aside, we get a deeper look into her lovingly flawed relationship with her older sister.
Prince Charles (Played by Josh O’Connor)
The man who still isn’t king has to deal with graduating from university and enlisting in the Royal Air Force, but only if he can get through his super-fancy investiture in Wales without screwing up. Oh yeah, and he’s also in love with a lady named Camilla, much to the chagrin of his family.
Camilla Shand (Played by Emerald Fennell)
Does she truly love Charles? Or Anthony Parker Bowles? Either way, she enjoys mulling over her options while smoking cigarettes in bathtubs.
Princess Anne (Played by Erin Doherty)
Anne, who’s Queen Elizabeth’s second child and only daughter, revels in her teen years with much more sexual gusto than you’d expect. You know about that supposed love triangle, right? You gotta read about that love triangle.
Harold Wilson (Played by Jason Watkins)
A prime minister so nice he was elected to serve terms twice over (before being forced to resign due to increasingly poor health), socialist leader Wilson cooly deals with political messes spurred from many notable events of the ’60s and ’70s, including the Aberfan coal-mining disaster, the Vietnam War, and the revelation that the royal family’s art dealer was a low-key Soviet spy. He and Queen Elizabeth also develop an unexpectedly warm relationship that sometimes rivals hers with Winston Churchill. Gasp!
Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Played by Ben Daniels)
With his marriage to Princess Margaret veering closer and closer to divorce (and with their two young children safeguarded in the palace with nannies), Armstrong-Jones spends most of his time on the road snappin’ photos and seducing other women who definitely aren’t his wife. Two can play the game.