The times are a-changin' and not necessarily for the better in Netflix's brand new trailer of The Crown Season 3. As per usual, the focus centers around Queen Elizabeth II, now being played by Olivia Colman, as she begins reflecting on her reign and all that she's accomplished (or, in her mind, failed to accomplish) thus far. But protestors in the streets and a wave of self doubt aren't the only things the Queen will have to grapple with this season. Her son, Prince Charles, now a fully grown man, is also struggling with his own sense of self and isn't so sure if he wants to put duty above everything else — including love.
Played by Josh O'Connor, Charles appears to see a lot of himself in Uncle Edward, who abdicated the throne so that he could marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite whose marital history (having been twice-divorced) made her an unsuitable fit for a king in his family's eyes. That's how Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI came to have the crown in the first place, which ultimately led to her eventual rule as well, proving how one decision made by a member of the royal family can alter the course of history forever.
With his mother still securely on the throne, abdication isn't an option for Prince Charles at that time, but there are still certain things expected of him as the next monarch in line for the throne, which makes his interest in Emerald Fennell's Camilla Parker Bowles somewhat complicated. "Am I listened to in this family? Am I seen for who and what I am? No," Charles is shown saying in the trailer.
Those out there who follow the royal family already know how this all plays out. Prince Charles and Camilla did date briefly back in 1970, though they parted ways after he joined the Royal Navy. Charles then wed Princess Diana in in 1981, but after their divorce in 1996 and her tragic death a year later, he and Camilla got back together and married in April 2005. The two of them have been together ever since.
Princess Diana has yet to appear on The Crown herself, though she's expected to come into the picture for Season 4, which means most of Prince Charles' story will focus on his budding romance with Camilla for now, despite his family's objections. “We have all made sacrifices and repressed who we are,” Queen Elizabeth tells her son in the trailer. “It is not a choice. It is a duty.”
Along with Colman's Queen Elizabeth (previously portrayed by Claire Foy in the first two seasons), viewers also get a look at Helena Bonham Carter's Princess Margaret and Tobias Menzies' Prince Philip, both of whom serve as older versions of the characters formerly played by Vanessa Kirby and Matt Smith, respectively.
Season 3 won't hit Netflix until Nov. 17, but if the trailer is any indication, the major casting changes won't prevent the series from serving a hearty helping of royal drama for the latest installment.