The Princess of Wales (Emma Corrin) makes her debut on the Netflix series during the season premiere, meeting Prince Charles (Josh O’Conner) while he is visiting her older sister, Sarah. In the scene, a 16-year-old Diana is in a tree costume, which she wore for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Over the course of the season, their relationship experiences intense turmoil, including multiple blowout fights about Parker-Bowles, who he later married. It also appears that the marriage was completely set up by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, rather than out of the love in Charles’ heart.
“I care about her. Morning, noon and night, I care about her. … Camilla is who I want. That is where my loyalties lie. That is who my priority is,” he screams at Diana in the finale. “I refuse to be blamed any longer for this grotesque misalliance. I wash my hands of it. If you have a complaint about not being loved or appreciated in this marriage, I suggest you take it up with the people who arranged it.”
The Crown writer and executive producer Peter Morgan previewed the fourth season ahead of its debut, opening up about the challenges.
“It’s very hard to write the innocent start to a relationship when you know how tragically it ended and indeed how unhappy they were throughout it,” he told TVLine.
Charles and Diana married in July 1981 and had two children, Prince William and Prince Harry. In 1992, the duo separated and four years later, they announced their divorce after both admitted to extramarital affairs. The following year, the princess died in a car crash in Paris.
In this season, Charles is “a man desperately trying to get out of this mess,” O’Connor, 30, said about the arranged marriage. “These are two very lost souls … They both needed something they couldn’t give each other, and it didn’t work.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see which moments in season 4 did — and didn’t — happen in real life.