Based on the award-winning play The Audience, this Netflix original series tells the inside story of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy), beginning with her marriage to Prince Philip (Matt Smith). Just as she's settling into life as a young wife and mother, her beloved father, King George VI (Jared Harris), passes away, due to lung cancer.
As his eldest daughter, Elizabeth has to adjust to being the Queen. She navigates life as the monarch of a nation that has recently come through a war. With Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) as Prime Minister, she grows accustomed to her new duties, though she's dismayed at having been given the responsibility at such a young age. Meanwhile, an aging Churchill struggles to keep hold of his position as other members of government ask him to step down.
Philip has trouble adjusting too, as he is no longer the head of the family. Of royal descent himself, he has to bow and kneel to the new monarch and yield to her wishes. He begins to rebel at this new situation, in which he feels emasculated. Elizabeth also has to deal with her difficult younger sister Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), who has been having an affair with married staff member Peter Townsend (Ben Miles).