Netflix announced on Monday, October 9, that the drama will return on Thursday, November 16, with four episodes. The sixth season’s final six episodes will follow on Thursday, December 14.
The release date came with a brief but dramatic teaser showing the late Queen Elizabeth II through the years, as embodied by the three actresses who’ve played her on the series: Claire Foy, Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton.
“The crown is a symbol of permanence,” Foy, 39, says in a voiceover. “It’s something you are, not what you do.”
Colman, 49, then follows with her own line, saying: “Some portion of our natural selves is always lost. We have all made sacrifices. It is not a choice. It is a duty.”
The clip closes with Staunton, 67, stepping in as Elizabeth in her later years. “But what about the life I put aside?” she asks. “The woman I put aside?”
Season 6 of The Crown is set to pick up in 1997 following the divorce of Princess Diana and King Charles III and the beginning of Tony Blair’s term as prime minister. It is expected that the new episodes will cover the period through at least the early 2000s, as the series will depict Prince William and Princess Kate’s first meeting while they were students at the University of St Andrews.
The new season will also include the death of Diana, who was killed at age 36 in an August 1997 car crash in Paris. Earlier this year, the show’s producers promised that the death will be handled with care.
“There was a very, very careful, long, long, long conversation about how we do it — and I hope, you know, the audience will judge it in the end, but I think it’s been delicately, thoughtfully recreated,” executive producer Suzanne Mackie said in August at the Edinburgh TV Festival. “We’re thoughtful people and we’re sensitive people.”
”She was so thoughtful, considerate and loved Diana,” Mackie said of Debicki. “So, there was a huge amount of respect from us all. I hope that’s evident when you see it.”
Debicki, for her part, said earlier this year that playing Diana was “definitely the most complicated acting task” she’s ever had.
“All the layers of it are quite extreme in a sense,” she told Deadline in June. “Here’s an excellent show that’s been running for five seasons and it has this amazing built-in audience. Before you have come all these extraordinary actors and you’re going to play the most famous and beloved woman that’s ever lived, and off you go. And you think, ‘Oh, my God, how on earth do I manage this?’ I think the level of that challenge and the length of shooting, it was over just two years of making it, is a combination that definitely teaches you as an actor how to let go of a lot.”