'The Crown' Season 3 Finally Has a Release Date for 2019

(Photo: Courtesy of Netflix)

After nearly a year away, Netflix's The Crown will return with Season 3 in November of 2019.

The Crown Season 1 and Season 2 arrived 13 months apart, in November of 2016 and December of 2017 respectively. They came almost like clockwork, part of Netflix's slate of holiday-timed premieres for the whole family to watch. But then November and December of 2018 came and went, and there was no sign of The Crown Season 3, sending fans into a tizzy. Winter of 2019 passed without a new installment of the royal soap opera, allowing instead for Meghan and Harry's first child to take center stage instead. 

But the wait is now over. With the fall of 2019 just around the corner, Netflix has announced the long-awaited next installment of the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II's reign arrives on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

The hold up was not planned. But unfortunately, it became necessary when the early month of 2018 proved what anyone who has paid attention to Doctor Who already knew. Recasting a show's lead, when the show is already running on a yearly schedule, is hard. Recasting a show top to bottom is almost impossible to do without a delay, if not an entire year off. The good news is the series succeeded in the First Great Recasting of The Crown.

Olivia Colman takes over for Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth, Tobias Menzies steps in for Matt Smith as Prince Philip. In the series' most ambitious move, the role of Princess Margaret will move from Vanessa Kirby to Helena Bonham Carter. (Granted, the two don't look much alike, but if you have the opportunity to cast Bonham Carter, you take it.) 

And so far, Colman looks every inch the heir to Foy's younger version of the Queen.

The third season cast rounds out with Ben Daniels as Tony Armstrong-Jones, Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, Marion Bailey as The Queen Mother, and Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson. 

As for the timeline of the new season, for the first time, the show will extend its brief of "one decade of Elizabeth's reign for every 10 episode season." Season 3 will cover 13 years, from 1964 (which is right when Season 2 left off) to 1977. It may seem like an odd choice, but it's almost certainly due to the historical event that occurred in November of 1977. Charles met the of-age Diana Spencer for the first time.

By changing the cut-off date to "just before Diana's entrance," Season 3 will get to cover the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, where Anne competed as an equestrian, the first royal to do so. It will also cover Charles' investiture and Princess Anne's wedding, and it will include the entirety of Margaret's marriage to Tony. Their divorce was finalized in 1978. It gets all the family drama prior to Diana neatly tied up in a bow and out of the way. That leaves the bombshell of her ascendancy to the monarchy to take front and center stage come Season 4.

The Crown Season 3 will premiere on Netflix with ten episodes on Sunday, November 17, 2019.