With the second season of The Crown dropping onto our Netflix dashboards today, taking Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret into the social tumult of the 1960s, it’s tempting to wonder: just what do the royals, specifically the Queen and her husband, think of Peter Morgan turning their public and private lives into a lavish drama streamed by millions of people around the world?
In a new interview with the Observer, Matt Smith, the actor tasked with playing a young Philip in The Crown’s first and second season, gave a hint as to just what his real-life counterpart might think of the show. While Smith has yet to meet the Duke of Edinburgh, he re-told an anecdote by ‘a man of prominence in the film world,’ who was placed next to Philip at a select dinner gathering at Buckingham Palace. ‘What do you do?’ the Prince reportedly asked. ‘Are you involved in this… Crown thing?’
Matt’s source later plucked up the courage to ask the Duke, ‘Philip, I’m just wondering, because I have some friends who made The Crown, have you watched any?’ His response? To stop and ‘glower,’ exclaiming ‘Don’t. Be. Ridiculous,’ according to the Observer piece.
‘Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but I just think he’s a bit of a cool cat,’ Smith continued. ‘And that’s what I love about him: he’s done what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, with whom he wants. And his wife’s the Queen.’
While The Crown might be yet to win over one of its principal players, it seems the Queen looks upon the show a little more kindly. Earlier this year, a royal source hinted that her son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie had introduced the monarch to the Netflix series, telling the Express: ‘Edward and Sophie love The Crown. It has been a longstanding arrangement that they drive to Windsor at the weekend to join the Queen for an informal supper while watching TV or a film. They have a Netflix account and urged her to watch it with them.’
‘Happily, she really liked it, although obviously there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatized.’
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The couple officially announce their engagement at Buckingham Palace, July 1947