The first images of The Crown Season 3 arrived only a few days ago. Featuring Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret, these images, like most of the casting announcements, have focused mainly on the older generation, the characters who carried the series through the first two seasons. But as Elizabeth enters her 40s, and her son Charles reaches manhood, it's time for the next generation to step up to the main roster. Today's announcement that Josh O'Connor would take the role of Elizabeth's heir pushes Prince Charles to the forefront. Who is Josh O’Connor? Will he be able to pull off a convincing Charles?
The problem in casting Charles, which will also be the problem with casting Diana, and their children down the line, is that the show has reached the point where television had reached the saturation point in both the U.S. and the UK. Images of young Elizabeth, Margaret, and Philip were mostly posed portraits and news film reels. But as viewers saw in Season 2, Elizabeth agreed to start televising her Christmas addresses. When it came time for Charles' investiture, one of the events Season 3 will cover, there was no question it would be televised, so fans are very familiar with what he looked like at that age.
There's good news though. Josh O'Connor, who has starred in such productions as God’s Own Country and Florence Foster Jenkins, looks like he will pull off a believable Charles.
Here's footage of Charles from the run up to his investiture:
Compare with the headshot Netflix released today as part of the announcement.
O'Connor is replacing Julian Baring, who played Charles as a pre-teen in Season 2. He will play Charles through the end of Season 4, covering the early years of his marriage to Diana and the birth of his two sons.
In a statement as part of Netflix's press release, O'Connor says he's thrilled to be playing the role.
I am thrilled to be joining The Firm for the next installment of The Crown. Seasons 3 and 4 will follow some of the most turbulent events in the Prince of Wales’s life and our national story and I’m excited to be bringing to life the man in the midst of it all. I’m very aware it’s a formidably talented family to be joining, but reliably informed I have the ears for the part and will fit right in.
O'Connor was not the only cast member announced. A new Queen Mother also joins the cast, to match her daughter Elizabeth in the aging process. She'll be played by Marion Bailey (Allied), replacing Victoria Hamilton (Victoria & Albert), who played the Queen Mum in Seasons 1 and 2.
Even though the Queen Mother's role is not as central as some others, she's still a force to be reckoned with in the Palace. Bailey said in a statement:
Wonderful to be joining The Crown. It’s a brilliant show and we have a tough act to follow but what a gift to be playing the fascinating and greatly loved Queen Mother. Thrilled to be on board and working with such a top-notch team.
The Crown does not yet have a debut date for Season 3 but is expected to arrive on Netflix in early 2019.