‘The Crown’ Creator on the Possibility of a Prequel Series (Exclusive)

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The Crown creator Peter Morgan has just wrapped an epic retelling of the British royal family that spanned six Emmy-winning seasons, three different casts of characters and more than eight decades of history. So, of course, fans want to know, what’s next?

While rumors have circulated about a possible prequel series, Morgan was clear with ET on the red carpet premiere for The Crown‘s final episodes that he’ll be happy to spend some time away from the fictitious lives of royals for a while.

“In the short term, I will not be writing anything set in a palace anywhere,” he said with a laugh, though noted of the epic franchise, “I expect to miss it.”

There’s certainly no shortage of drama to be mined for story ideas — even keeping to just the more “recent” royal history. There’s the abdication of King Edward VIII, the history-making reign of Queen Victoria, the tension between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, and the end of the Tudor dynasty — just to start.

“Maybe later on, at some point in my life, I’ll miss it enough, you know, to pick up the pen again,” Morgan conceded. “But really, at the moment, there’s no plan… You never rule anything out, but in the short term — absolutely not.”

Morgan admits that he felt “quite a responsibility” in telling the story of The Crown — particularly when deciding where to wrap things up. This burden was compounded by the real-life death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

“That was tricky and that took a lot of thinking and a lot of work, but I hope we’ve done it,” Morgan admitted of wrapping up the fictionalized telling of the life of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. The “drama” of the show officially ends in 2004, two years after Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee — which celebrated 50 years of her reign — though the show does indirectly address the queen’s eventual death.

“Normally my rule would be to never come closer than 10 years to [fictionalized] events, but with family like this where people’s feelings are so strong — particularly in this country — I wanted to give 20 years,” he explained. “I wanted to make sure that, effectively there was a generation between us where we are now and where the show ends… so it is still a show which is historical, even though it ends in the 21st century.” 

While some members of the royal family have admitted in the past to watching early seasons of the Emmy-winning drama, ET’s royal expert Katie Nicholl estimated that many royals have stayed away from recent seasons — as the show started to play out more modern history, like the marital tensions between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and her tragic death in August 1997.

“I’m told that Charles chose not to watch the last season. He felt it was just too close to the bone,” Nicholl recounted last month — referring to season 5, which detailed the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage. “Camilla apparently watched it with a large glass of red wine and her very dry sense of humor.”

“But I suspect they probably won’t [watch season 6],” she continued. “This is just too close to home. Yes, we’re talking about events 25 years ago, but to them, these are personal events. It’s a memory that’s probably — certainly for William and Harry — not such a distant memory in many ways, and far too sensitive.”

Prince Harry, for one, has already stated that he won’t be watching the season, and Nicholl said she isn’t surprised.

“I don’t blame him for coming out and saying he’s not going to watch,” she admitted. “It’s too close to home, far too painful, as empathetic as the storytelling is… I think they handled the crash, for example, with great sensitivity. You never see Diana’s body, or anything sort of awful like that, but it’s still going to be far too triggering and sensitive, I would imagine, for any of the close family members to watch.”

As for how the royal family is feeling about the show finally coming to an end, Nicholl imagined there might be a sense of relief amid the members of the monarchy.

“We’re seeing the start of a new chapter here. This is a new monarchy,” she noted. “We’ve had the accession of King Charles III. We are now over a year into his reign. I think there’s a sense of really needing to leave the past in the past.”

“TV series, particularly The Crown which capture history in such a mesmerizing and an incredible way… it does make it so much harder, I think, for the royal family to move on from the past, which is what they’re trying to do,” Nicholl concluded. “They are trying to embrace a new chapter. This doesn’t make it any easier.” 

All six seasons of The Crown are streaming now on Netflix. 

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