Set Design

How The Crown Recreated Three Significant Locales for Its Final Season

The latest and last installment of the Netflix drama chronicles the British royal family as they enter the 21st century
Much of The Crowns final season takes place in the familiar confines of Buckingham Palace.
Much of The Crown’s final season takes place in the familiar confines of Buckingham Palace.Photo: Justin Downing/Netflix

In real life, the story of the British royal family is far from over. Princes William and Harry seem to be at an impasse as the former waits for his turn to succeed their father, King Charles III, and the latter settles into his new life in Montecito, California, after he and his wife, Meghan Markle, stepped back from their royal duties and moved out of the UK. The past few years have been rocky for the Windsors, from Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah interview to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. But as we all wait to see what happens next in the lives of the world’s most famous royals, fans of the Netflix drama The Crown are saying goodbye to the beloved show, which dropped its final six episodes on December 15.

The Crown premiered in 2016 and began with the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Philip in 1947. Since then, the story has spanned decades, utilizing “about two and a half thousand” different sets and “probably about a million” props, according to set decorator Allison Harvey, who has worked on the show since the beginning, alongside production designer Martin Childs. The sixth and final season was released in two parts, with the first four episodes hitting the streamer on November 16, chronicling the days before and after the tragic death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997. The final installment of the series, out now, takes viewers through Prince William’s teenage years and days at University, where he meets his future wife, Kate Middleton. The series concludes with the wedding of King Charles III to Queen Camilla at Windsor Castle in 2005. Below, AD breaks down three standout sets from the final season.

Mohamed Al-Fayed’s St. Tropez Vacation Home and Yacht

Princess Diana on Mohamed Al-Fayed’s yacht.

Photo: Daniel Escale/Netflix

Princess Diana spends much of the last summer of her life vacationing in St. Tropez, striking up a romance with Dodi Fayed, son of Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. Filming took place in Mallorca aboard a real yacht, which Harvey dressed in plenty of Versace and Ralph Lauren fabrics and at a luxe seven-bedroom villa with a yellow exterior, which is available to book on Airbnb.

The Ritz Paris and The Ritz London

Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed have a serious conversation in a lavish suite at The Ritz Paris.

Courtesy of Netflix

To recreate the hotel where Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed shared their last meal before their tragic deaths, the team used seven different locations in three different countries, including Elstree Studios in London, according to Harvey. And though piecing together this set was complex, a stroke of luck helped them outfit the spaces with furniture. “We just happened to find an antique shop in south London that was selling furniture from the Ritz London for cheap,” says Harvey. “We just bought all of the Ritz furniture and then reupholstered it, and that’s how we got 12 headboards in the Louis XVI style. It was a stroke of luck because it’s not that easy to find that kind of thing.” Later the Ritz London appears when Princess Margaret celebrates her 70th birthday there.

University of St Andrews

A young Kate Middleton and Prince William at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Photo: Justin Downing/Netflix

Some scenes were filmed at the actual school in Scotland where Prince William and Kate Middleton met, but the campus has changed too much since their time there in the early 2000s for the real St Andrews to meet all of the show’s needs. Harvey estimates that about five different places, including both sets and practical locales, were used to supplement the St Andrews scenes viewers see. As for the dorm room decor, “it was pretty much like any traditional student room from the nineties,” says Harvey. “It was quite nice to do that spread of ephemera up the walls and have a bit more texture in the sets than we normally can with the queen.”