‘The Crown’ confirms that ‘Downton Abbey’ star will play the Queen next

It’s been revealed that those rumours about Imelda Staunton joining The Crown were true!

Only weeks after Olivia Colman made her debut in the hit period drama, reports emerged last November that Netflix had already found her replacement.

The third season of The Crown saw the show’s entire cast replaced by older actors as the story moved further into the second half of the 20th Century.

The award-winning series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom launched in 2016, with Claire Foy leading the original cast.

Olivia Colman is currently filming her second set of episodes, with new historical figures in Season 4 set to include Margaret Thatcher and a young Princess Diana.

Netflix has now officially announced that English actress Imelda Staunton will then take over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth season.

The 63-year-old Harry Potter star will be familiar to period drama fans for her recent appearance in the Downton Abbey movie as Lady Maud Bagshaw.

She’s also married to another Downton cast member in real life: Jim Carter, who plays Mr Carson.

Staunton commented: “I have loved watching The Crown from the very start. As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts.”

She added: “I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”

Imelda Staunton previously played the Queen in the BBC TV series Cambridge Spies in 2003.

Season 5 is expected to begin filming later this year, ahead of a late 2021 premiere.

Netflix surprised fans around the world with the news that the fifth season will be the show’s last.

The Crown is available to buy on DVD on Amazon.