The new season of The Crown picks up in the 1970s as Britain is going through major political and social changes, including the election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). Thatcher is a politician the likes of which Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) hasn’t come up against before; she’s steely and determined, totally unbothered by the wave of harsh criticism that rises up as a response to her staunchly right-wing policies.
“My goal is to change this country from being dependent to self-reliant, and I think in that, I am succeeding,” says the Prime Minister proudly, raising the Queen’s ire in the process. Their terse relationship, strained by disagreements in national and foreign policy, will take center stage this season.
But it won’t be the most interesting conflict to watch for — that honor belongs to the strife between Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) and...well, everybody in the Royal Family. The young woman’s whirlwind romance with confirmed bachelor Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) leads to a grand wedding watched by people all over the world, but the picture-perfect relationship quickly gives way to serious conflict. Diana doesn’t exactly fit the expectations that her husband and his family has for her, and as a result, they begin to brainstorm ways to force her to assimilate. Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends.
If you're expecting the dramatic saga of Diana, Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles (Charles' current wife and the the Duchess of Cornwall) to unfold this season, you're going to have to be a little patient. That scandal will likely play out during the fifth and sixth seasons of The Crown. Elizabeth Debicki will take her place as the final iteration of Diana (with Dominic West ironically in talks to play her Charles), and we'll watch the couple struggle with a very public divorce on an international stage.
Sit tight till then — the full fourth season of The Crown hits Netflix on November 15.