Netflix transforms London's West End into Hong Kong to film The Crown

Netflix transforms London’s West End into Hong Kong to film The Crown as drama’s fifth season recreates return of Britain’s last major overseas territory

  • The fifth season of Netflix royal drama The Crown was spotted filming in London’s West End this morning
  • Royal drama is filming in London and Elstree ahead of series’ highly anticipated return in November next year
  • Series appears to be recreating the return of Britain’s last major overseas territory Hong Kong in July 1997 
  • Royal Yacht Britannia’s final foreign mission transported last Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten back to UK
  • Netflix has transformed London’s West End into Hong Kong to shoot scenes for the highly anticipated fifth season of their royal drama The Crown. 

    The series, which will return to small screens in November next year, appears to be recreating the handover of Hong Kong, Britain’s last major overseas territory, to the People’s Republic of China in July 1997.  

    The handover of the region ended more than 150 years of British control over the territory and was attended by Prince Charles, the newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair, then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Hong Kong’s last governor Chris Patten.  

    Scenes show a diplomat being whisked along the street with a police escort, presumably ahead of the midnight ceremony in which the Prince of Wales read a farewell speech to the region on behalf of the Queen.  

    Previous images show the recreation at Elstree Studios of the emotional retirement of the Royal Yacht Britannia, which had its final journey transporting Charles and Patten back from Hong Kong after Blair vowed Labour would not use public funds to replace the vessel. 

    Netflix have transformed London's West End into Hong Kong as they shot scenes for the highly anticipated fifth season of their royal drama The Crown

    Netflix have transformed London’s West End into Hong Kong as they shot scenes for the highly anticipated fifth season of their royal drama The Crown 

    Scenes show a diplomat (pictured) being whisked along the street with a police escort, presumably ahead of the midnight ceremony in which the Prince of Wales read a farewell speech to the region on behalf of the Queen

    Scenes show a diplomat (pictured) being whisked along the street with a police escort, presumably ahead of the midnight ceremony in which the Prince of Wales read a farewell speech to the region on behalf of the Queen

    The handover of the region ended more than 150 years of British control over the territory and was attended by Prince Charles, the newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair, then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Hong Kong's last governor Chris Patten

    The handover of the region ended more than 150 years of British control over the territory and was attended by Prince Charles, the newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair, then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Hong Kong’s last governor Chris Patten

    Images from the set show a government official being driven through a busy road in Hong Kong as police cars trail the diplomat

    Images from the set show a government official being driven through a busy road in Hong Kong as police cars trail the diplomat

    Patten will be portrayed by English actor Oliver Milburn while Dominic West will play Prince Charles and Bertie Carvel will depict Blair. 

    Images from the set show a government official being driven through a busy road decorated with signs written in Cantonese and lit up with neon lights as police cars trail the diplomat. 

    Between 1839 and 1842, British armies fought the opium war on behalf of drug traffickers against the Qing Dynasty. Their victory opened up the lucrative China trade to British merchants. 

    China’s imperial Qing Dynasty gave the Island to the United Kingdom under the Treaty of Nanking on August 29, 1842, to end the First Opium War. 

    The set in the West End of London has been designed to look like a busy road in Hong Kong, decorated with signs written in Cantonese and lit up with neon lights

    The set in the West End of London has been designed to look like a busy road in Hong Kong, decorated with signs written in Cantonese and lit up with neon lights

    Extras were seen milling around the set pretending to mill around a busy street in Hong Kong in July 1997 ahead of the region's handover to China

    Extras were seen milling around the set pretending to mill around a busy street in Hong Kong in July 1997 ahead of the region’s handover to China 

    Extras of the Crown's fifth season were scattered around the set pretending to run food stalls and shop in Hong Kong in the late 90s

    Extras of the Crown’s fifth season were scattered around the set pretending to run food stalls and shop in Hong Kong in the late 90s 

    Actors depicting government officials are seen in the back of a car being whisked through Hong Kong presumably ahead of the handover ceremony in July 1997

    Actors depicting government officials are seen in the back of a car being whisked through Hong Kong presumably ahead of the handover ceremony in July 1997 

    Fake police cars were seen on set of the Netflix production in London's West End. The show is also filming in Elstree Studios

    Fake police cars were seen on set of the Netflix production in London’s West End. The show is also filming in Elstree Studios

    An extra is pictured on set of season five of The Crown which has turned part of London into Hong Kong for the highly anticipated return of the show

    An extra is pictured on set of season five of The Crown which has turned part of London into Hong Kong for the highly anticipated return of the show 

    On July 1, 1898, Britain was granted 99 years of rule over the Hong Kong colony under the The Second Convention of Peking. The lease would allow Britain to also have sovereignty over the New Territories, which is connected to mainland China, together with 235 islands.

    An international bilateral announcement, called The Sino–British Joint Declaration, was signed by then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Chinese counterpart Zhao Ziyang on December 19, 1984.

    According to the document, Hong Kong would revert to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, under an administrative principle known as ‘one country, two systems’.  

    The handover came during a turbulent period for the family, having faced much public scrutiny over their reaction to the the death of Princess Diana months earlier.  

    The Crown’s fifth series will see Imelda Staunton take over the role of the Queen from Olivia Colman, while Lesley Manville is set to play her sister Princess Margaret, replacing Helena Bonham Carter.

    Actors and crew members are pictured filming scenes set in Hong Kong for Netflix's The Crown season five in London's West End last night

    Actors and crew members are pictured filming scenes set in Hong Kong for Netflix’s The Crown season five in London’s West End last night 

    Scenes of a diplomat being driven with a police escort down a busy road in Honk Kong in 1997 were filmed in London's West End

    Scenes of a diplomat being driven with a police escort down a busy road in Honk Kong in 1997 were filmed in London’s West End 

    The set was dressed with various neon signs in Cantonese as extras milled around as Netflix filmed scenes for season five of The Crown

    The set was dressed with various neon signs in Cantonese as extras milled around as Netflix filmed scenes for season five of The Crown 

    Extras sat at food stalls in London's West End as Netflix filmed scenes of season five of The Crown set in Hong Kong in the 1990s

    Extras sat at food stalls in London’s West End as Netflix filmed scenes of season five of The Crown set in Hong Kong in the 1990s

    Jonathan Pryce, 73, will take over the role of Prince Philip for the seasons showing the Royals navigating the 1990s and early 2000s while Elizabeth Debicki will take over the coveted role of Princess Diana from Emma Corrin. 

    James Murray will take on the role of Prince Andrew, replacing Tom Byrne, who played the Queen’s second son in series four. 

    The final two series of The Crown will cover the Royal Family’s history throughout the 1990s and into 2003 and expects to include the Queen making a speech on her 40th anniversary of her accession in 1992, in which she called the year an ‘annus horriblis’.

    She was referring to the breakdown of three of her children’s marriages; Prince Andrew, Princess Anne’s and Prince Charles’ divorce from Princess Diana.  

    The handover of the region ended more than 150 years of British control over the territory and the event appears to have been recreated in season five of The Crown

    The handover of the region ended more than 150 years of British control over the territory and the event appears to have been recreated in season five of The Crown

    Actors share a conversation on set as they film scenes set in a car driving through a  Hong Kong road in London's West End

    Actors share a conversation on set as they film scenes set in a car driving through a  Hong Kong road in London’s West End 

    Images from the set show a government official being driven through a busy road decorated with signs written in Cantonese and lit up with neon lights as police cars trail the diplomat

    Images from the set show a government official being driven through a busy road decorated with signs written in Cantonese and lit up with neon lights as police cars trail the diplomat

    Extras of the Crown's fifth season were scattered around the set pretending to run food stalls and shop in Hong Kong in the late 90s

    Extras of the Crown’s fifth season were scattered around the set pretending to run food stalls and shop in Hong Kong in the late 90s

    Actors playing government officials are pictured in the back of a car ahead of the handover ceremony of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China

    Actors playing government officials are pictured in the back of a car ahead of the handover ceremony of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China

    Fake police cars were seen on set of the Netflix production in London's West End, which has ben transformed to look like Hong Kong, last night

    Fake police cars were seen on set of the Netflix production in London’s West End, which has ben transformed to look like Hong Kong, last night 

    Cars on the West London set are decorated with a crest representing the monarchy as Netflix filmed scenes set in Hong Kong

    Cars on the West London set are decorated with a crest representing the monarchy as Netflix filmed scenes set in Hong Kong 

    The Crown actors depicting government officials are pictured filming scenes set in Hong Kong for Netflix's The Crown season five in London's West End last night

    The Crown actors depicting government officials are pictured filming scenes set in Hong Kong for Netflix’s The Crown season five in London’s West End last night

    Key historical moments involving the Royal Family between 1999 and 2003

    1999: The marriage of the Queen’s son Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex: The wedding took place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. 

    2000: The Queen celebrates the Millennium: Millennium celebrations take place throughout the UK. The Millennium Dome in London is officially opened by HM The Queen on January 1.    

    2001: Queen Elizabeth reacts to 9/11 terrorist attacks: A week after the tragedy she sent a message to the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer to offer her condolences. 

    She wrote: ‘Each and every one of us has been shocked and numbed by what we have witnessed in these recent days. 

    ‘At your service today, we think especially of the British victims. These are dark and harrowing times for families and friends of those who are missing or who suffered in the attack – many of you here today. 

    ‘My thoughts and my prayers are with you all now and in the difficult days ahead’. 

    On September 13 The Queen ordered the Changing of the Guard ceremony to be paused for a two minute silence, followed by the playing of the American national anthem. 

    2002: The Queen’s Golden Jubilee: The Queen celebrated the milestone on February 6 and it was an international event to mark the 50th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. 

    On June 4, an estimated one million people headed to central London to line The Mall on the last day of the official celebrations.

    Queen guitarist Brian May played ‘God Save The Queen’ from the roof of Buckingham Palace in her honour. 

    2002: The Queen dines at 10 Downing Street with the five living former Prime Ministers who served under her. She met with Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and Edward Heath.

    2002: The death of Princess Margaret: The Queen’s younger sister dies after suffering a stroke aged 71. The pair had had a troubled relationship after The Queen said she couldn’t marry her love Peter Townsend. 

    2002: The Queen Mother dies: She passed away aged 101 at Royal Lodge Windsor. 

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