Peter Morgan & Netflix are in talks to do several prequel seasons to ‘The Crown’

I’m now a huge fan of The Gilded Age, and I can’t wait to see if Julian Fellowes eventually brings in a subplot involving the Levinson family, meaning a beautiful young heiress named Cora Levinson, who would end up marrying the Earl Grantham, thus Downton Abbey. It would only have to be a subplot and it would be such a huge payoff for people who loved Downton and The Gilded Age. I bring this up because instead of getting that, we’re probably going to get Netflix greenlighting a prequel series to The Crown. The further they go back, the more we’re going to need to dust off our German.

Netflix and “The Crown” producer Left Bank Pictures have been in discussions over a prequel to the British royal drama series, a source confirmed Friday. However, the prequel is not in development nor greenlit.

The prequel would start with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and would run up to where “The Crown” began, which was with the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II in 1947. “The Crown” creator Peter Morgan would also pen the prequel, which would run for three to five seasons, according to a report in the Daily Mail, described by Variety’s source as “speculative.”

The period covers the reigns of four kings in 50 years: Edward VII (1901-10), George V (1910-36), Edward VIII (1936), and George VI (1936-52).

Four seasons of the show have streamed so far, winning 11 Primetime Emmys last year, including Outstanding Drama Series, two Emmys in 2020, five in 2018, and three in 2017.

Season 5 is set to stream in November, with a new cast taking over to portray the royal family through the 1990s, including Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, and Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles. Jonny Lee Miller will also appear as Prime Minister John Major.

Left Bank is set to start shooting Season 6, the final season, this August. The cast will likely stay the same, apart from the actors playing Prince William and his younger brother Harry as teenagers.

[From Variety]

I’m not going to lie, I would watch it? Royal history post-Victoria and pre-WWII was fascinating, especially because so many changes were made to modernize and seem less German. That was when the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha royal house became “Windsor” and when the royal family began cutting their ties with their royal relatives around Europe and Russia, all so they could seem more authentically British. I would especially enjoy Peter Morgan’s take on the end of George V’s reign through the Edvard VIII mess and the war years of George VI. The King’s Speech covered some of that, but Morgan would (I would assume) focus more on the Edward-vs-George (David-vs-Bertie) brother dynamic. While David/Edward is seen as a Nazi supplicant these days, when he was Prince of Wales, he was enormously popular in the UK and around the world. That season would be fascinating.

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31 Responses to “Peter Morgan & Netflix are in talks to do several prequel seasons to ‘The Crown’”

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  1. C-Shell says:

    I would watch the hell out of that! Not that it was *less* sordid, but the political and family dynamics, in the context of two world (European) wars, from that period are way more interesting to me than 70 years of Elizabeth.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I would watch this. I think it could be very interesting. Also, because we have met Wallis, David, the Queen Mother and Queen Mary on the Crown, it will be interesting to see how they tie the prequel versions of those people to the Crown versions (if that makes sense.)

  3. Over it says:

    I see pippa when I look at Wallace and I also see kate stole her look to wear to pippa wedding.

  4. harpervalleypta says:

    The sons of George V would be fascinating all on their own.

    You got David (Edward VIII), mr man about town, flitting off to Paris and having sex with anything that moves. Bertie, of course. Then Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, who was apparently very into the military, but had his own love affairs. Lastly, Prince George, the Duke of Kent (father of Prince Michael), who had so much drama and so many rumors floating around him, such as he was bi with love affairs with Noel Coward and that he was addicted to drugs, and David helped him get sober. He marries Princess Marina in (what I’ve heard to be) an actual love match, and who was also the first cousin of Prince Philip. And then Prince George’s death in a plane crash during WW2.

    There’s a lot of gossip floating around the 4 of them, and considering that all of them are now deceased, it may give them a chance to really explore all of that. A bisexual son of a king? That will shock a bunch of people.

  5. Beana says:

    The drama around George V – how he and Tsar Nicholas acted like twins, and then George didn’t accept Nicholas and his family into exile in England and the whole family was murdered.

    How Victoria blamed Edward for Albert’s death, since Albert caught pneumonia when he had to travel to force Edward to give up a mistress.

    George IV getting his sexual education as a young man from his older brother’s mistresses.

    This is a no-brainer, the scripts practically write themselves!

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Yes @Beanie, there’s a huge amount of historical fodder for dramatic reenactments. However, the proposal for a prequel to The Crown, states that Morgan plans to start with the death of Queen Victoria, which would rule out scenes of Victoria blaming her son and heir Edward VII for Prince Albert’s death (unless they utilize flashbacks).

      I doubt they will reference or cover anything about George IV (well before Victoria’s reign). Interestingly, George IV, as a self-indulgent and entitled Prince Regent (circa 1812) was instrumental in creating Royal Lodge. It was initially a smaller residence, called Lower Lodge. The Prince Regent enlisted the services of architect John Nash to make additions to the property that formerly had served as a home for the Park Bailiff.

      How fitting that one overly entitled Prince Regent inhabited and helped create Royal Lodge, where today another overly entitled, less smart but equally self-indulgent royal prince hides out.

  6. C says:

    I would watch this. The rumor was that Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon really wanted David not Bertie, and that was the real reason she hated Wallis Simpson so much. (Also, the papers back then used to talk about how George VI had terrible rages and the Queen Mother would “calm him down” just like they do with Charles/Camilla and William/Kate, so take from that what you will).
    And this family had many more Nazi connections than are usually mentioned, not just with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, or Prince Philip’s family.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ No, I don’t think that’s true. It’s just a spiteful rumor started by enemies of the Duchess of York, later Queen Consort to George VI (and perpetuated by thirsty, unreliable Lady Colin Campbell).

      From documentaries and books I’ve viewed and read, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon turned Bertie down at least twice. But her parents and the royals wanted the union to happen. As a result, a determined beau of the young Elizabeth B-L was sent away on a distant military assignment. This allowed Bertie more opportunity to court and eventually to win Elizabeth B-L’s favor and ultimately her hand in marriage. Reportedly, the distant beau was devastated when he found out that he’d lost his Elizabeth to the stuttering Prince Bertie.

      As far as David (the Prince of Wales), Elizabeth B-L probably saw right through him to his rotten core. Thus the nasty rumors, and nicknaming her ‘Cookie’ behind her back (because one of her given names is Marguerite, after her family’s favored cook). Rumors that the cook was actually the mother of Elizabeth and her younger brother, are completely unsubstantiated. In fact, Elizabeth B-L closely resembles her mother, the Countess of Strathmore (Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck).

      I hope any planned prequel will stick to thoroughly researched factual accuracy, rather than indulging in slanderous rumors and overdone dramatic license.

      • C says:

        I’m not so sure. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon hated Wallis more than any of David’s other women. And we know of her obsession with rank – she treated Charles and William the best out of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren because they were the heirs and ignored the others.

        I know that she turned Bertie down twice. He was by all accounts very deeply in love with her. I’m sure they had a close union. But I absolutely don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility she wanted David at first.
        They nicknamed her Cookie not only for that but because she resembled “a fat Scottish cook”.
        The problem with the idea of “thoroughly researched factual accuracy” is that as we have seen with how they have scrubbed so much of William’s reputation, these people can tell whatever story they want and the establishment will fall in line. I don’t trust anything from that Campbell woman says obviously.
        The Crown will do a portrayal that’s good for viewership and while it may tarnish some peoples’ reputations temporarily, ultimately with the exception of snags here and there it’s going to fall in line. Witness how the entire episode regarding Aberfan was distilled into a maudlin plot about whether the Queen would cry or not, and only briefly observed her totally inadequate response to the crisis. Even Charles is portrayed as much better than he was. Morgan et al will love to create drama for viewership and ratings, but nobody’s actually going to do a portrayal that will cause people to really wonder if they should be ending this institution.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ @C, I mean in my previous post that it’s not substantively true re the rumor of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon being interested in David, Prince of Wales (Edward VIII). Since The Crown’s production crew does thorough research, hopefully they will rely on extensive fact-checking, and not go with slanderous hearsay.

      More likely Elizabeth B-L disapproved of David’s affairs with married women, and she probably despised Wallis because of viewing Wallis as being beneath her own social standing. Elizabeth surely looked down her nose at Wallis, and viewed her as a scandalous American social climber.

      The rest of the details in your post are substantiated in historical source materials. Fans of The Crown should take note though, that Wallis & David (Edward VIII) are not the sympathetic characters Peter Morgan tended to portray them as in past seasons of The Crown.

  7. betsyh says:

    Jonny Lee Miller will play John Major in season 5? I liked him as the lighthearted Mr. Knightley in the 2009 miniseries Emma. I’m having a hard time picturing him as the conservative John Major. (But maybe he wasn’t so conservative. I just read he was the son of a trapeze artist, music-hall entertainer and purveyor of garden gnomes.)

  8. Selene says:

    Edward was the most famous Prince of Wales that has ever existed. How dismaying (or enlightening) that it all ended with the true reveal of his beliefs. Everyone on the firm has always been ass-backwards, generation after generation.

  9. Concern Fae says:

    I would totally watch this and I never really got into The Crown. I went through a period where I binged all the royal biographies of TQ, Margaret, et al. When I sat down to watch, it was just depressing, because I knew the story. Always figured I’d binge when sick or had a big knitting project going, but haven’t yet.

    This earlier period would be fascinating, though. Know some of it, but the fleshing of the details would add so much to it. The royals were much more secretive then, with public and private diverging widely.

    Perhaps that is the tragedy of William. That the family opened up their private lives, but didn’t realize that meant raising children whose real personalities would be able to stand up to public scrutiny.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      However, because those royals are long dead, a lot of dirt has been made public. Like the Duke of York being an extreme submissive (and very possibly bisexual), not to mention the many fascist/Nazi connections. Then there’s the shocking fact that King Georg V was euthanized to coincide with his death being announced by the respectable morning papers – which is just so incredibly bonkers.

      • VivaAviva says:

        I feel weird saying this, but…I don’t actually find that shocking? The final day of my father’s life, we all knew it was his final day. He lost consciousness and we knew he wouldn’t be waking up. He’s nobody from nowhere, so how his death was announced didn’t mean anything to anyone, but I can totally see it feeling important (even if it’s not, grief does things to people and the royals are very concerned with dignity, respect, and having things happen the “proper” way) for the sovereign’s death to be announced a certain way. If he was truly on his out, I’m not going to quibble over a few hours and an extra dose of morphine. I don’t think I’m a sociopath, but I could be wrong.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Which Duke of York? The one who became George VI (QEIIs father)? And I thought it was he, George VI, whose death was timed to make the morning papers?

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ @BeanieBean, it was George V who was helped along in death so that the announcement could be timed for the morning papers. It’s entirely possible that courtiers also timed the announcement of George VI’s passing, but there wasn’t any euthanizing involved in the latter’s death AFAIK.

        @ArtHistorian, do you mean to reference David (Prince of Wales/ Edward VIII) as “an extreme submissive and possible bisexual”? I haven’t heard that Bertie (George VI) was known to be submissive or bisexual. He was nervous and temperamental, with a well-known speech disorder. OTOH, I don’t think there’s any doubt that David, at the very least flirted with bisexuality. Their younger brother, Prince George Duke of Kent, was definitely bisexual. Prince George of Kent’s wild behavior and notorious exploits were an open secret.

        Honestly, the older brothers (David & Bertie) had been traumatized and abused as babies in the nursery, by nannies. Plus, their mother, Queen Mary, was overly stiff, formal, and incapable of generously demonstrating the love she reportedly felt for her children.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        I meant the Duke og Windsor, not York.

  10. MyCatLovesTV says:

    Sign me up for this series! I would (as someone said above) watch the hell out of it. Plus there are many things about this period that have similarities to this current crop of royals. I can’t wait to see this prequel happen!

  11. EBS says:

    Edward VIII was a straight up Nazi spy. There’s a bunch of stuff that has only recently been declassified that makes it very clear. It’s detailed in a book called Traitor King by Andrew Lownie (and a documentary) that he urged “bombing Britain into submission” and informed for the Nazis. If they put that in this prequel, it will be pretty explosive.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      Lownie’s book was very interesting -Edward VIII was definitely a traitor. Add to that the rumours about his sexuality (one of the reasons why he was so obsessed with Wallis was the fact that she dominated him more ruthlessly than anyone else AND there are the rumours that he was extremely accomplished in the art of fellatio). Super explosive.

    • C says:

      The other royals had Nazi connections too, only that information was cleaned up at the order of Churchill. The Duke of Kent probably collaborated with them too.

      • EBS says:

        Not to the extent of Edward and Wallis. The Duke of Kent possibly to a certain extent, but given that he has living descendants, that will continue to be hushed up for some time. Certainly George VI would not have recommended his own bombing.

      • C says:

        Not to the extent of Edward and Wallis, that we know of. I’m skeptical. Again, Churchill ordered a lot of this covered up. And it didn’t stop the whole family from keeping Duke Charles Edward (“Charlie Coburg) close to them, who was responsible for encouraging the Nazi sympathies of many family members and attended George V’s funeral as Hitler’s representative as well as their family member.
        I doubt any of them would have recommended their own bombing obviously, but there were plenty of other lesser royals than the King and Queen who felt it was better to stop the war than to continue fighting and would have supported that by any means necessary, including in my view probably the collusion with Nazis.

  12. RP says:

    I vote for Dame Maggie Smith as Mae of Teck/Queen Mary

  13. Sabrina says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    I hope this gets made and that they don’t leave out the story of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. She published her memoir when she was in her 80s and it was fascinating. I bought a copy off of Amazon. I totally recommend it.

    Before Sophie, she was the oldest woman to marry into the Royal Family at age 34. But the memoir is nuts. She traveled extensively in her 20s to Kenya and India. She shot and killed a lion that came into their compound in Kenya. She also hung out with David, the Prince of Wales, in Kenya. At one point, her father, the Duke of Buccleuch, cut off her money but she sold paintings she had done in Africa to get the money for the flights and defied him.

    But the memoir doesn’t really reveal why she gave it all up. Why come back to the UK in her 30s? Her father was ill when she got engaged to Prince Henry. He had been around the family most of her life and was friends with her brother, I believe. She talks about going to church with Queen Mary as a child. And her descriptions of moving from their 3 glorious homes each “season” with over 100 staffers boarding the trains is crazy.

    But why Prince Henry? Who arranged it? How did they convince her to do it? The memoir is silent. I always thought there may be something in the Buccleuch’s archives. Letters home or something.

    She married at 34 and didn’t have her first child, Prince William, until 40. And Richard at 44. At a time where IVF didn’t exist. Wow. William would go on to die in an airplane crash. Richard is the current Duke of Gloucester. She ran out of money later in life even though she continued to be a working royal into her 90s. She ended up living with her son. She died at 102 around the same time as her sister-in-law, the Queen Mother.

    What an amazing story. They could make a series just on her, and her aristocratic family, alone.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Yes, I hope they do cover something about Princess Alice. But since she was married to the younger (boring) brother, Prince Henry, it’s probably unlikely she will be focused on in any depth, if at all. What I would love to see is a separate mini-series about the Gloucester family’s story altogether, starting with Princess Alice and her marriage to Prince Henry. They had a difficult time conceiving a child, and Alice suffered miscarriages prior to the birth of their older son, Prince William. He was deemed a ‘miracle’ child. A few years later, it was a bit easier for Alice to conceive and carry their second son, Richard.

      Prince William of Gloucester took after his mother’s gorgeous looks. He was drop-dead gorgeous, with piercing blue eyes. Plus, he had kindness, character, and intelligence to go along with his good looks. He was the most academic-minded Windsor ever. He studied at Eton, Cambridge, and Stanford in the U.S. After university, he became a diplomat in Japan, where he met the love of his life, Zsuzsi Starkloff. Unfortunately, since she was somewhat older, divorced, and Hungarian with two young daughters, the royals deemed her unsuitable.

      I believe Starkloff’s version of events detailed in the documentary, The Other Prince William. Since his tragic death, the royals never mention William of Gloucester, and some accounts try to paint over and downplay the deep extent of his love for Starkloff. Any post-Starkloff admission by William that he wanted to marry a woman who was “right in the eyes of other members of the Family,” shows the cult level of brainwashing, mind control, and subjugation to ‘duty’ this toxic institution has had over its members.

  14. Sabrina says:

    By the way, Alice says in the book that when she came back home to the UK, she went to stay with the Athlones for Ascot.

    “Though nothing was said about it to me, of course, the idea was undoubtedly to put me in contact with Prince Henry again.”

    She goes on to say she met him there and they were engaged within 3 months. She said he was “terribly shy.” And she was 34 and it was time to marry. “I felt too that it was time I did something more useful with my life.”

    She was scared to tell her father of the engagement, although he suspected it. “He asked me if I was quite sure I felt equal to the task, because he knew how much I had enjoyed my independence. If I married Prince Henry I would have to accept that I was a servant of the Country.”