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Stars of 'The Crown' talk about first new season since Queen Elizabeth's death

Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, and Lesley Manville star as Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and Princess Margaret in Season 5 of the hit Netflix show. #k5evening

SEATTLE — A new season of critically-acclaimed show "The Crown" dropped on Netflix today, sparking both conversation and criticism.

It's the first season to air since the passing of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth.

Season five focuses on the early 1990’s — a trying time for the royals. Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage ended, and the queen was navigating her reign as a senior citizen.

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The new season also introduces a new cast, including Imelda Staunton as the Queen and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip. Both expressed admiration for the queen's long reign, as there’s no “retirement” for members of the royal family.

“No, she was working two days before she died," Staunton said.

"I'm glad she didn't retire, otherwise we'd be out of a job," Pryce added.

The actors follow in the footsteps of two award-winning casts before them.

"It was intimidating but exciting and challenging and a huge privilege,” Staunton said.

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"Everyone was new and we all were having the same experience, and it turned out to be a great experience,” Pryce added.

Lesley Manville also joined the show as Princess Margaret — a role made easier because of her long real-life history with Staunton.

“We've been friends for a lot of decades and we've worked together before. We are good friends, we're very close friends, so that bit of the sibling relationship is taken care of,” Manville said. "The scenes I have to do with her, I just know we're going to have great days."

There were also strange days — specifically, when Queen Elizabeth died. Production stopped as a sign of respect, but there's been criticism in England about the show's arc. Some in the press and entertainment industry have voiced concern that viewers will mistake it for reality.

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"We're not trying to give you a history lesson because most adults will know about this period because it is fairly recent,” Manville said. "What ‘The Crown’ can do is speculate on what these people are like as private human beings."

Manville, Staunton, and Pryce have real-life connection to the Royals: they're all "CBE's,” an honor for service to the British Empire bestowed by the queen.

As actors, Staunton said they also understand what it means to have a sense of duty.

"When you're doing theater, you're doing 8 shows a week and yes you're absolutely exhausted, but you do it. You said you'll turn up at 7:30 and do the show, you turn up at 7:30," Staunton said. "The queen, for 70 years, she turned up.”

The cast hopes viewers will show up for "The Crown" once again — an imagined peek behind the curtain of the world's most recognizable family.

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