Fans will bid adieu to The Crown after six seasons this winter. Divided into two parts, the first half will premiere on Netflix on November 16, while the final episodes will debut in December, just before Christmas.
Ahead of the show's return, creator Peter Morgan spoke to Variety about penning the royal farewell, and as it turns out, he'd had a different ending in mind. Revealing that he'd already written the majority of season six when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, died in September 2022, prompting him to make changes.
"We'd all been through the experience of the funeral," he told Variety. "So because of how deeply everybody will have felt that, I had to try and find a way in which the final episode dealt with the character's death, even though she hadn't died yet."
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos previously explained that there were talks about concluding The Crown with the Queen's death, however this won't be the case. Instead, 2005 will be the final benchmark. "It was the cutoff to keep it historical, not journalistic," Peter added. "I think by stopping almost 20 years before the present day, it's dignified."
While few details have been shared about the final episode, Bela Bajaria, Netflix's chief content officer, has teased a "powerful emotional ending."
"Peter did such an amazing job at weaving all of these stories together and really leaving us with such a powerful emotional ending," she said. "It really does give you the feeling of honoring the queen's entire reign."
While Queen Elizabeth's death will not feature as a storyline, season six will portray the tragic loss of Princess Diana. It has already been confirmed that the 1997 car crash, which took Diana's life, will not be shown. Instead, the series will focus on the days before and after the collision.
During a TV panel at the Edinburgh Festival this year, executive producer Suzanne Mackie explained that the Princess of Wales's passing will be handled sensitively.
"The show might be big and noisy, but we're not. We're thoughtful people and we're sensitive people," she said. "And so 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."
Speaking about the final season, Elizabeth Debicki, who portrays Diana, said: "I think it's a really unique challenge as an actor, to portray those days. I really just trusted in Peter's emotional blueprint that he created for us to follow. It's his interpretation and I think it made emotional sense to me, so I clung to that. Because, obviously, it's devastating and it's fraught and we can never know."
Khalid Abdalla, who plays Dodi Fayed, added: "It's been the honour of my life to be part of this project, to be part of The Crown, and to play Dodi.