Word on the street is Claire Foy will be returning to The Crown in Season 4. Foy portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons of the the Netflix series which charted Elizabeth acceding the throne and her first years as the head of the royal family and figurehead of an empire. The first season also starred Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as her husband, Prince Phillip, Vanessa Kirby (Hobbs & Shaw) as Princess Margaret, and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill.
Long before Season 2 came to an end, it was known that Foy and many of her fellow castmates would have their roles recast to reflect the aging royal family. Additionally, the pattern of a new cast of royals taking over every two seasons for as long as the show runs was also confirmed. Fans have experienced this first changeover with the recent release of Season 3, which sees Oscar winner Olivia Colman take over for Foy, Tobias Menzies (Outlander) take over for Smith, Helena Bonham Carter take over for Kirby, and so on and so forth.
According to The Wrap Foy’s absence from the show didn’t last long because she was reportedly spotted (via photos from The Daily Mail) on the set of Season 4, which is currently filming. Foy was seen wearing a white dress and pearls, an outfit that most closely resembles the outfit the real Elizabeth wore for her 21st birthday speech. Given Foy’s presence on set and the possible recreation of this important moment from Elizabeth’s life, it seems Season 4 will include a flashback scene of this moment. It’s unclear if Foy will appear in any other flashback scenes. It’s additionally just as unclear how this particular flashback will work into the overall arc of Season 4. Netflix has yet to comment on Foy’s return.
But just because we don’t know how Foy’s flashback fits in, it doesn’t mean we’re entirely clueless about what to expect in Season 4. Season 3 ended in 1977 on the occasion of Elizabeth’s Bicentennial Celebration and the Winter of Discontent charting the end of Margaret’s marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon. Season 4 will pick up in the 1980s, which means we’ll see an even more modern monarchy as well as the introduction of Princess Diana and the United Kingdom’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
The Crown Season 3 is currently available to stream on Netflix along with the previous two seasons.