For the first three seasons of The Crown, the royal family has been an insular deal. The central trio of stars has been Elizabeth II, her husband Philip, and sister Margaret. Outsiders may intrude here and there, but never for very long. All that changes in Season 4, as a new shining star enters the arena, and will, in the space of a few short years, discover herself in the central spotlight, usurping it from the Queen for the first time in Elizabeth's life. These photos of Emma Corrin as Diana in The Crown Season 4 are the first official look at her long-awaited arrival.
This is not the first time writer Peter Morgan has tackled Diana's impact on the royal Windsor family. Though he wrote for TV and a few films in the late 1990s and early aughts, it was his Oscar-nominated take on how Diana's death impacted Queen Elizabeth in 2006's The Queen that brought him fame.
But that film notably began with Diana's death. This season of The Crown marks the first time Morgan will come at the material from the other end of the timeline, starting with the palace's decision to pluck Lady Diana Spencer from obscurity.
From the beginning, it seems Diana will find herself dropped into a drama already in progress. Check out this first meeting between Diana and Camilla in a photo released by Netflix:
But it won't be long before "Shy Di" becomes the fashion icon everyone wants to photograph. (For the record, this gown seems to be an updated version of Diana's famous look from her 1983 tour of New Zealand.)
From the looks of it, Elizabeth and Charles will have no idea what they've gotten themselves into.
Diana's arrival has already overshadowed this season (much like Diana did to the monarch in life). But this is still Elizabeth's show, and she, Philip, and Margaret will still take center stage.
And while Charles' love life will push everyone else off the front page, his sister and grandmother will still make their voices heard.
Meanwhile, another figure will also get the spotlight. Unlike Diana, this is no heroic People's Princess, but a woman who, to this day, is still villainized by those who lived through her decade-long reign as Prime Minister. Ladies and gentlemen: Margaret Thatcher has taken residence in Number 10.
Change is coming. The Crown Season 4 arrives on Netflix on Nov. 15, 2020.