The Crown Season 5’s Queen Elizabeth Actress Shares Thoughts On People ‘Feeling Sensitive’ About The New Episodes

Imelda Staunton on The Crown
(Image credit: Netflix)

It seems there has always been an air of sensitivity surrounding the Netflix historical drama The Crown. However, between Queen Elizabeth II passing in September, and the detailing of Princess Diana and Prince Charles' turbulent divorce in Season 5 of The Crown, it makes sense why people would be a bit more sensitive over the latest season, and the actress playing the queen this season gets it.

The show has been criticized this year for not delaying its release on the 2022 TV schedule following the queen’s death, and for its depiction of the royal family. To this point, Imelda Staunton, who plays Queen Elizabeth II told EW

I feel it's understandable that people are feeling sensitive because of recent events. There's no doubt about it. We finished filming this season six months ago. If this was coming out two years ago, there wouldn't be all of this going on. So I think there's a sensitivity and there's not a lot we can do about that. I think one would like to feel that people would recognize over all the seasons that Peter Morgan has written, the amount of respect he has for this family, and the amount of integrity he uses in order to write these, yes, imagined scenes that are hung around real events. I don't think there's a lot we can do or say.

The show has been publicly criticized by a friend of the Queen, who claimed it is “vilifying the Royal Family.” They also called the series “vicious,” and claimed it was trying to “destroy the Royal Family.” 

Despite pushback against the show, its first four seasons are critically acclaimed. Staunton takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth in The Crown cast following in the footsteps of Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, who both won Emmys for their portrayals of the queen. The actress, known for playing Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies, noted the pressure of taking over the role, calling it a “marvelous” but “daunting” task. 

Along with Staunton, her co-star Jonathan Pryce, who is playing Prince Philip, agreed with his co-star regarding the show treating the Royal Family’s story with respect. He said: 

I mean, they say it's hurtful, unjust dangerous, none of those things I see in this production. I don't think any of us do...It's a thing that's being stirred up by the press...It's certainly been one of the best working experiences of a 50-year career, and I'm so proud of it, and the episodes I've seen are joyful, and I'm looking forward to filming the rest of season 6.

As the actors stated, they are currently shooting Season 6 of The Crown, and following the Queen’s passing, they delayed shooting. Regarding the other sensitive discussion surrounding how the show is portraying Princess Diana, it’s been confirmed that her car crash will not be filmed, and her death and funeral will be handled with “sensitivity.” 

If you are interested in watching the show that has sparked this massive discussion, you can watch all five seasons of The Crown with a Netflix subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.