The Crown brought back [spoiler] for a surprise cameo in season 4
Just like real-life royalty, The Crown has established its own line of succession — Claire Foy originated the role of Queen Elizabeth II, Olivia Colman plays her now, Imelda Staunton is next in line — but the Netflix series made an exception for a brief moment of season 4.
In the eighth episode of the new season, titled “48:1,” viewers got a surprise in the form of a return cameo from Foy, once again playing the queen in a flashback to her younger years. The episode opens with the then-Princess Elizabeth delivering a radio address for her 21st birthday from Cape Town, South Africa in 1947.
In the speech, Elizabeth affirms her allegiance to the Commonwealth, dedicating her “whole life, whether it be long or short,” to the service of the institution and its people. That moment, and her comments, set up the tensions that run through the rest of the episode, which returns to 1985 and the rift that emerges between the queen and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) over whether Commonwealth countries should impose sanctions on South Africa.
Foy played Elizabeth for The Crown’s first two seasons, winning both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her portrayal. Colman took over the part in season 3, but Foy’s flashback scenes weren’t banked during her earlier tenure as queen — photos emerged last year of her returning to the role for what would become this recreation of the queen’s 1947 radio address.
Watch the original version of the queen’s speech below. The Crown season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.