‘The Crown’ Season 5 Episode Guide Explained, Summary
Finally, season five of The crown is finally here, with all its dramatic storylines, including the separation and eventual divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Here, a guide for each of the new episodes, but fair warning – spoilers ahead!
Episode 1: “Queen Victoria Syndrome”
The first episode of this season focuses on a 1991 poll featured in the Sunday time, in which the data indicates that Prince Charles is more popular than his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and suggests that some of her subjects would prefer her to abdicate in favor of her son. The title of the episode, “Queen Victoria Syndrome” refers to the fact that Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years and was considered out of touch towards the end of her reign. The text of the article reads in the broadcast, “Royal historians might label this phenomenon as Queen Victoria Syndrome, where the public begins to perceive that a long-reigning monarch is out of touch with his people.”
Other moments in Episode 1 focus on the Queen’s annual summer vacation at Balmoral, the annual Ghillies Ball at Balmoral, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s “second honeymoon” in Italy ( it was not a honeymoon at all).
Episode 2: “The System”
The second episode of The crownis fifth the season details how the royal family is not just a family, but also an institution. It opens with the death of Penny and Norton Knatchbull’s daughter, Leonora Knatchbull, and explores the budding friendship between Prince Philip and Penny, Philip’s love for the sport of horse-drawn carriage driving, and the collaboration of the Princess Diana with journalist Andrew Morton on her book, Diana: her true story. (His friend, Dr. James Colthurst, served as an intermediary for both.)
When Philip gets wind of the book, he goes to see Princess Diana and gives a speech, telling her, among other things, “You are long past the stage where you think of us as family, that’s the mistake people make in the world. beginning.. But you understand, I think, it’s a system. And we are all in this system. You, me, the Boss, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts… For better or for worse, we’re all stuck And we can’t just vent our grievances and throw bombs in the air like a normal family, or we end up doing much bigger damage and something much more important: the system.
“The system” can be understood as a substitute for “the business”, a term that the real Prince Philip would have popularized, but which he did not originate; King George VI reportedly said, “We are not a family. We are a business.
Episode 3: “Mou Mou”
The third episode takes viewers away from the royal family to focus on Mohamed Al Fayed, who becomes a key player in the upcoming royal drama. In one scene, Mohamed tells Princess Diana that all her friends call her by a nickname, “Mou Mou”, and that she should call him that too. The episode serves as an introduction to Mohamed and his son, Dodi Al Fayed. (Dodi’s mother, Samira Khashoggi, also features at the start of the episode, which is set in Egypt.)
The main plot revolves around the father-son duo Fayed, and includes Mohamed’s purchase of the Ritz Paris, Dodi making chariots of fireand Mohamed’s restoration of “Villa Windsor” after the death of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, as well as a description of how Mohamed uses his purchase of Harrods to try to get closer to the royal family.
Episode 4: “Annus Horribilis”
The fourth episode of season five is really the heart of the season, focusing on the so-called “annus horribilis” or horrific year of Queen Elizabeth. The title of this episode is taken directly from a speech the Queen gave just days after the Windsor Castle fire in 1992, where she said: “1992 is not a year I will remember with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my friendlier correspondents, he turned out to be an “Annus Horribilis”. I suspect I’m not the only one who thinks so.”
Elsewhere in the episode, Princess Margaret reconnects with her love, Peter Townsend after an interview on Desert Island Discs.
Episode 5: “The Way Forward”
The fifth episode of The crown season five centers on The Way Ahead committee, when Queen Elizabeth tried to help the Royal Family out of the “horrible” year and ensure society remained modern; yet Prince Charles pushes back against their ideas, saying they don’t move fast enough with the times – and points to his own work with The Prince’s Trust as a sign of modern royalty (and yes, he really did breakdance at a Prince’s Trust event.)
The most dramatic parts of the episode, however, focus on the affair between Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and Charles’ interview with Jonathan Dimbleby where he admits his infidelity. Their intimate phone call about Charles wanting to be a tampon leaks to the press, and Princess Diana steps out in her famous revenge dress.
Episode 6: “Ipatiev House”
The sixth episode focuses on the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, with the plot centering on two main events: Boris Yeltsin’s 1992 trip to London and the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit to Russia in 1994. A Undercurrent of both trips was the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family at the Ipatiev House during the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the show features flashbacks to King George V and Queen Mary – and the decision whether or not to offer asylum to the Romanovs. .
The end of the episode also features the royal family at Sandringham for Christmas, an annual royal tradition.
Episode 7: “No Woman’s Land”
The seventh episode of season five details the end of the relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. At the start of the episode, Diana tells her acupuncturist about her loneliness as Prince William prepares to start at Eton. The episode’s title comes from that start, when Princess Diana shares, “No one prepares you for what it’s like to be apart. It’s a weird kind of no man’s land,” then, corrects herself she says, “no-woman’s-land.” She laments she is “neither married nor single, neither royal nor normal”.
Also, Diana meets Hasnat Khan in this episode, the British Pakistani surgeon who was one of the men Diana was romantically involved with in the 90s, but Khan was said to be the only one she called the love of her life.
Episode 8: “Gunpowder”
The eighth episode of The crown season five focuses pretty much exclusively on Panorama’s explosive interview Princess Diana did with Martin Bashir in 1995. They film it on Guy Fawkes Night, November 5, which commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot (d ‘where the title of the episode).
Episode 9: “Couple 31”
The ninth episode focuses on Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ divorce, which was formalized in 1995. Their story is interspersed with conversations with other divorcing British couples; in court, Charles and Diana are referred to as “couple 31”. The two share a good time at Kensington Palace after their divorce, going over the marriage – what Charles calls an “audit” and Diana an “autopsy” – but then it turns sour. (In a lighter moment, Charles also proclaims his love for eggs, which is very real.)
Episode 10: “Downgraded”
The final episode of this season centers around the decommissioning of the royal yacht, which this season is keen to use as a metaphor for Queen Elizabeth’s reign. It also features Charles’ 1997 trip to Hong Kong, where he witnessed the handover of Hong Kong from the UK to China, and the return of Mohamed and Dodi Al Fayed in the storyline – Mohamed invites Diana to travel with them on their yacht in Saint Tropez.
The final moments of the episode show Mohamed arriving on his yacht for a vacation, Princess Diana packing for that same trip, Dodi Al Fayed proposing to girlfriend Kelly Fisher, and Queen Elizabeth saying goodbye to Britannia.
Emily Burack (she/her) is the news editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royal family and a range of other topics. Prior to joining T&C, she was associate editor of Hey Alma, a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram.