Netflix‘s The Crown recently dropped its highly anticipated fifth season, two months after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
As viewers obsess about Elizabeth Debicki’s “polarizing” Princess Diana and Dominic West’s “hot” Prince Charles, a royal insider revealed that before Prince Philip’s death, he had actually advised Queen Elizabeth not to watch the show. He even “wanted to sue” its creators. Here’s why.
Why Prince Philip Advised Queen Elizabeth Not To Watch ‘The Crown’
It’s no secret that some members of the Royal Family have seen The Crown. In Prince Harry’s viral appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2021, he also confirmed that the show depicts some truth about their lives.
“I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself… They don’t pretend to be news, it’s fictional,” he said at that time.
He continued: “But it’s loosely based on the truth. Of course, it’s not strictly accurate, but… it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that.” But for Prince Philip, he thought it would only “irritate” Queen Elizabeth. “He watched and I believe he told the Queen not to watch it,” royal author Tessa Dunlop told TalkTV.
Royal expert Robert Jobson added: “I’d heard that he did watch it and he said to her, ‘Don’t watch it because it will just irritate you.'” But during an appearance on ABC’s live broadcast of the Queen’s funeral, Jobson revealed that Her Royal Highness actually watched The Crown on Sundays. She was even a regular viewer, especially in the earlier seasons.
Why Prince Philip “Wanted To Sue” ‘The Crown’
According to Dunlop, Prince Philip “wanted to sue” The Crown over its portrayal of his sister’s death.
He actually consulted a law firm about it. “This was in an earlier episode where Philip as a child was portrayed as being in some way responsible for his beloved sister Cecile’s death, not just her death but what wiped out the entire family,” explained the royal contributor.
“It was a fabrication, this young Philip was given agency in her decision to fly, that was nonsense,” she continued. “For us, they were just a half-forgotten past that most of us haven’t lived through except of course the very old Duke who lived it all and understandably, it felt raw.”
In 2021, biographer Sally Bedell Smith told The Daily Mail that for the Duke of Edinburgh, the “most egregious scene” was indeed his sister’s death in a plane crash wherein the show portrayed his father telling him, “You are the reason we are all here, burying my favorite child.”
Bedell Smith noted that the longest-serving royal consort “had nothing to do with his sister’s death,” and that “Cecilie did die in an air crash … that’s the only thing that was true. Everything else was invented in a shockingly malicious way.”
Another royal biographer, Hugo Vickers claimed that Prince Philip was “very upset” about the show. “How disgraceful it was to turn Prince Philip into a caricature person – never doing any work in the series,” he said in the same interview. “The depiction was cruel and deeply unfair. The least Netflix could do was to alert viewers with a disclaimer.”
Jonathan Pryce On Playing Prince Philip In ‘The Crown’ Season 5
Jonathan Pryce has now taken over the role of Prince Philip in The Crown‘s season 5, following House of Dragon‘s Matt Smith and Game of Thrones alum, Tobias Menzies. When asked about the big role, the 75-year-old actor said that it only “reinforced” his perception of the Royal Family.
“I’m not a monarchist, and I thought I would have very little interest in the royal family but my wife Kate and I decided to watch it,” he told Yahoo UK. “We got to the end of episode one, and we turned to each other and said, ‘Shall we watch another one?’ We just got hooked.”
When asked if it changed his view of the British monarchy, he said: “Changed it? No. It’s reinforced my feelings about them.” He also admitted that it made him understand the real Prince Philip.
“I suppose, looking at Prince Philip it’s made me much more aware of the kind of man he was behind the headlines,” he shared. “He spent most of his life getting a bad press for saying all the wrong things, usually in the colonies, and finding more about the man who was behind all of that has changed my view of him, essentially.”