The sixth and final season of The Crown is currently underway, and two of its most important subjects have finally been revealed. New photos of Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy, who play college-aged versions of Prince William and Kate Middleton, respectively, have surfaced as they film what appears to be the royal couple’s first meeting.
McVey and Bellamy, both relative newcomers, were spotted filming in St Andrews, Scotland, the spot where William and Kate met in 2001 while studying at the University of St Andrews, on March 17. In the photos, McVey’s William inquisitively looks up at Kate as she passes by, hinting that this could be their first moment running into one another.
“When I first met Kate, I knew there was something very special about her, and then I knew there was possibly something I wanted to explore there, but we ended up being friends for a while,” William said during the couple’s 2010 engagement interview with ITV News. “That was a good sort of foundation. I do genuinely believe now that being friends with [each other] is a massive advantage.”
Years before their 2011 wedding at London’s Westminster Abbey, which was watched by some 72 million people, William and Kate “took a break” following graduation. “I at the time wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person” Kate said during the same interview. “You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized—I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you’re younger—and I really valued that time for me, as well.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s courtship is one of several subjects that will be explored in the final installment of Netflix’s Emmy-winning series on the heels of the splashy fifth season. Most notably, new episodes will chronicle Diana’s tragic 1997 death. Rufus Kampa has been cast as a slightly more junior version of William, who was just 15 years old when his mother died in a car accident. Other storylines may include 9/11; the queen’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating her 50 years on the throne; and the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mum in 2002.
Returning royal family cast members include Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Phillip, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker-Bowles, and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret.
The Crown’s final season will be released amidst turmoil within the monarchy, including the release of Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir Spare and the death of Queen Elizabeth II. When the monarch died, the series paused production in honor of her. Series creator Peter Morgan also issued this statement about his show’s real-life inspiration: “The Crown is a love letter to her and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect.”
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