Matt Smith on Meghan Markle: ‘I feel sorry for her… life as she knows it is gone’

Matt Smith at 'The Crown' TV Show premiere in London

Matt Smith currently plays Prince Philip in the wildly successful Netflix series The Crown. Smith obviously plays Philip in the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, which was the period of time when Philip was something of a royal disrupter – “the establishment” didn’t care for the Queen’s husband, and Lord Mountbatten (Philip’s adopted father) was often seen as “pulling the strings” of the royal marriage. Philip tried to “modernize” the monarchy too, to mixed results. In any case, Matt Smith has done enough research on the Windsors to realize that marrying into the royal family is rarely any kind of picnic. So when asked about Meghan Markle, Matt Smith was honest: he feels sorry for what she’s about to undertake.

Matt Smith has now been in Prince Philip’s shoes for two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown and knows what it’s like to be a royal spouse—or at least act the part. On Monday night, during a talk moderated by Vanity Fair’s Mike Hogan at 92nd Street Y in New York City with co-star Claire Foy, Smith did not mince words about his feelings on the fate of Prince Harry’s royal-to-be fiancée, Meghan Markle.

“I feel sorry for her,” he said. “It’s such a transition in her life, and it’s such a huge thing to take on. Life as she knows it is gone. But hey, she’s marrying the prince of Britain—how exciting for her.”

Though he plays a fictional royal, Smith understands a thing or two about the complex life of Prince Philip, who reluctantly lived in the Queen’s shadow for the better part of his early marriage. Philip, a naval officer in the mid-20th century, had to make several sacrifices that many other husbands at the time did not. As V.F. has noted, Philip was unable to give his children his surname—a request the Queen rejected.

“I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children,” Philip said on the subject, per a biography by Sally Bedell Smith. “I’m nothing but a bloody amoeba.”

[From Vanity Fair]

It strikes me, now that I’m a bit older, that Philip was kind of insane to want the children to take his ADOPTED name of Mountbatten. Like, he wanted the royal house of Windsor to become the royal house of Mountbatten (a name which was originally the even more Germanic “Battenberg”). That was never going to happen. The whole reason the British royal family changed their royal house name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor was so they would sound LESS German.

As for Matt’s sympathy for Meghan… I would feel sorry for her too, if it was truly a Diana Spencer-esque case of a naive and romantic young girl marrying into this family. Meghan is 36, she’s widely traveled and well-educated, she’s worked for a living and she’s been married before. While she probably doesn’t understand every part of what she’s marrying into, I have every confidence that she’s made these choices with her eyes wide open, and that she’ll do really well.

Claire Foy, Matt Smith at the screening of The Crown at The 92nd Street Y

Photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News.

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76 Responses to “Matt Smith on Meghan Markle: ‘I feel sorry for her… life as she knows it is gone’”

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  1. KatieBo says:

    I love that ouitfit on Claire Foy! So cute!!

  2. Clare says:

    Tbh I feel a little sorry for her too. She seems like a really nice woman – marrying into kind of an awful family.

    It is a well known fact that Philip can be an awfully nasty piece of work when he wants to (think how he treated Fergie), and I don’t think he is the only one. She will have a steep slope to climb with that lot. So it’s not just the constant media scrutiny – its having a new family that just aren’t very nice to each other.

    I do hope Harry is worth it, because like I say, she seems to be a cool woman.

    • Jessica says:

      As long as Harry is alive and well he’s not going to allow Meghan to be treated poorly. If their marriage starts falling apart then she’ll have to rely on her own friends and family but while it’s good he’ll protect her.

      • Clare says:

        Hope you are right – but isn’t it kind of sad that we are talking about him ‘protecting’ her from poor behavior…because it is almost inevitable that she will not be treated with kindness without his intervention?

      • Jessica says:


        I think she’ll get along just fine with about 95% of his family. She already is close to Eugenie, she’ll probably get along fine with Charles, Camilla, Zara, Peter, Sophie, Edward, Bea, William and Catherine. I don’t see her getting attacked; they’ll probably be overly nice in the beginning as to not appear racist. The only people who may give her a hard time is Anne and Phillip will likely casually say something racist. As a POC she’s likely already used to that.

      • Clare says:

        @Jessica I think you’re missing my point – the fact that her new family will probably be nice to her because her husband demands it/so as not to appear racist, is really very sad!

        Normal/nice families are nice to each other not out of fear of appearing racist!

        I mean I hope people will be nice to her, but this is a family with a long history of being horrible to one another (see relationship b/w the York princesses and Kate, for example).

        Like I say, I hope Harry is worth it.

      • Milla says:

        Harry is a brat. I really cannot buy that Prince charming thing. Who knows what will happen once they start normal life…

      • Jessica says:


        Ok, I reiterate. I don’t see Meghan having any major problems with anyone except Anne and Phillip*. I actually don’t think the BRF is as terrible as everyone makes them out to be. Meghan is charming and personable and I don’t think PH will have to demand them to be nice to her. People obsess over Kate being mean but I don’t think she is; Meghan will probably be a nice person for her to talk to.

        I don’t think you’re seeing my point.

        *I don’t have time to delve into the interracial aspect but I don’t think that’s an issue for anyone except Phillip.

      • Clare says:

        @Jessica – it’s hard to see your point when you contradict yourself…

        Exhibit A: ‘As long as Harry is alive and well he’s not going to allow Meghan to be treated poorly.’

        Exhibit B: ‘I don’t see her getting attacked; they’ll probably be overly nice in the beginning as to not appear racist.’

        Exhibit C: ‘ I actually don’t think the BRF is as terrible as everyone makes them out to be.’

        Exhibit D: ‘I don’t think PH will have to demand them to be nice to her.’

        So what is your point exactly? Harry will make them be nice to her, or he won’t have to? They will be nice to her so as not to appear racist, or they’re actually really quite nice?* I’m confused. lol

        Evidence would suggest they are, in fact, a bunch of tossers and NOT very nice.

        I mean, Ias I’ve said previously, I hope they treat her with kindness, but their history of being dicks speaks volumes. Also Harry isn’t exactly prince charming…this is a man who has referred to people as ‘ragheads’ and wore a nazi costume to a party AS AN ADULT. Yeah people grow up, and I hope he has…but let’s be real.

    • AG-UK says:

      Yeah me too. Not that Harry doesn’t love her but just being able to walk around doing what you want, going to the cinema, not blow drying your hair, etc.. always have to be ON or be mindful of people watching. She was never that actress where her every move was monitored but hey ho she obviously not bothered.

      • NJBeachGirl says:

        And don’t forget, whenever she is with Harry on an official visit, she has to walk BEHIND him. She messed that up the other day.
        Crazy, right?? I have felt that this is a big huge step for her and I think she is smart so she understands some of it, but she isn’t British, so hasn’t seen it up close and personal for most of her life. Women who have seen it up close have fled, except for Kate, who didn’t have a lot of other choices after years of waiting.
        I think Meghan might have stars in her eyes and love in her heart, and there is a huge chance that this might end up being a bad dream instead of a fairy tale.

    • Jenny says:

      I feel sorry for her too. I think it’s impossible to understand what you’re getting yourself into marrying into any royal family but esp the BRF if you didn’t grow up in those circles.

      • Alex says:

        @Jenny, I agree with you on feeling sad for her in the long term. I don’t think because she is a 36 year old and a well traveled woman, means that she knows the whole scope what she is getting into. This is a girl/woman who has made her own choices in life. She is leaving behind a career that has being her passion. Now she will be subjected to a heightened scrutiny. Where in the long run will mean to submit to old pompous rules, leaving behind a care free woman, whose craft was her salvation to independence. I hope Meghan finds her balance as a royal, and won’t get lost trying to fit in Harry’s world.

  3. Lahdidahbaby says:

    I compketely agree with Kaiser: “Meghan is 36, she’s widely traveled and well-educated, she’s worked for a living and she’s been married before. While she probably doesn’t understand every part of what she’s marrying into, I have every confidence that she’s made these choices with her eyes wide open, and that she’ll do really well.”

  4. African Sun says:

    His comment is kind of eh, anyone who is going to marry a royal of any nation knows the rules, their lives have changed. The mother of the King of Jordan was British and her life changed. It is what it is, thanks for stating the bleeding obvious Matt LOL.

    I’m sure Megs can handle it!

  5. Jessica says:

    I feel sorry for Meghan like I feel sorry for a reality TV star who becomes really ‘famous’. She’ll be fine and has plenty of time to escape the media scrutiny in Botswana or Scotland. This is a job with nice perks and she just has to dress well and give a few speeches. I think people over-exaggerate the media aspect and protocol; it’s livable as long as your friends don’t constantly bring up the negative things written about the person.

  6. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    I agree with him, marrying into the Firm is obviously no picnic. I’m sure that the traditions are quite stifling.. Meghan is already having her every move scrutinized. You are essentially signing up for a lifetime in the public eye. There’s a reason none of the aristocratic girls in the U.K. wanted to marry either Prince.

  7. gabbie says:

    so many people have built her up in their minds, that she’ll break protocol and make real changes, when the reality is really likely to be nothing like that. she’s never going to express political opinion again. she’s never going to change anything about the way that anything is done and has been done for as long as we can recall. she’ll be another kate, we’ll be criticizing her fashion choices. that’s it, that’s all that’s going to happen. her life as she knows it is over, and i think she went into this accepting that. she’ll live in luxury and in exchange her personality (at least as it will be presented in the media) will be erased. she’ll be just another woman married to a royal who only crosses her ankles.

    • Rose says:

      I agree people have put her on such an unreasonable pedestal, that when she doesn’t live up to it (because no one can) the fall out is going to be huge.

    • kaiko says:

      BINGO! And I’m sorry but MM wanted this, chased this, just like Kate and her fam, only she had more media exposure and made the right friends, contacts, etc. Ambition paid off. Anyone who reads anything about her life, career, personal choices sees that…she’s gotten exactly what she came for and good for her, but she’s not the deity that everyone on here makes her out to be. I personally think she’s a perfect fit for all the publicity that comes with the job, as an actress she seems to love the attention and that’s what Harry wants according to some media outlets. No shrinking violet here folks. If she sucks at the rest of the job, oh well…not like she can be fired or voted out. He loves her so she will automatically be a representative of an entire nation now, good bad or otherwise….doesn’t really make a lot of sense for the people of Great Britain (not sure when monarchy ever made sense historically, and definitely not in this day and age), but apparently that’s what’s happening. Pretty sweet deal for her and everyone knows it, even with all the supposed drawbacks. Fame and fortune is her future.

      • noway says:

        I agree on all of this, but I would say the monarchy could be profitable with the tourist industry ,if they would scale it back a bit. Americans especially eat this stuff up. I think Charles had thought of doing this, but there was some backlash on who would be left with Royal duties, and some of those people aren’t as well liked. Still it will probably have to be done at some point, or else there might be a revolt on the whole monarchy.

      • Annabelle Bronstein says:

        Yes. MM did not just stumble into this, and neither did Kate. I don’t fault her the effort, but to act as though they met randomly and fell in love is a fairy tale. She worked to be in this position, she will fall in line and play the game and never cross her legs again.

      • Addie says:

        I agree with everything you say. It’s a good retirement plan for an actress not in demand beyond Suits. MM is smart and goes after what she wants; I hope Harry is worth the sacrifices to her personal freedom. It all depends on what drives a person: if it is fame/attention and material goods, well, okay. If it’s personal expression, she’s screwed. There would seem to be opportunity to do good work… but then she can’t be more involved than those born into the royal family, for fear of being a mere commoner showing them up. People would then wonder why they needed a monarchy when ordinary people could achieve more. Hint: they already do. It’s just that Brits want to cling onto their past, the greatness of the British Empire etc.

      • Peeking in says:

        Kaiko- do you honestly think a mixed race American woman chased an English prince who previously dated only blondes?

    • NJBeachGirl says:

      Wow. That hit me like a ton of bricks and is so true.
      Especially the parts where she will never, in her life, express a political opinion again, and just be a pretty Barbie Doll of sorts, whose clothes we like or don’t like, who crosses her ankles and walks behind her husband.
      What kind of “independent” woman is OK with this?

  8. Lucy says:

    At first I thought he came off as condescending, but I see that he has done his homework. Co-sign to the last paragraph.

  9. QueenB says:

    She wasnt forced into this. If she doesnt get it its hard to feel bad for her. Just like we dont need to feel bad for Hiddlestom for being with Taylor Swift and looking like a moron.
    Specifically marrying the son of the woman who saw and ultimately died because of the dark side of being married to a royal should be thought trough and Im sure she has done that.

  10. Naomi says:

    I feel sorry for the thousands of homeless people in Britain, whilst an outdated institution like monarchy still exists with a nice annual earner of £350m +. I am sorry for any of the awfulness of the British press and small mindedness of the British people that Meghan Markel will have to deal with in regards to her race and person but she’ll have a nice warm roof over her head, and lots of other perks as a royal. My heart goes out to ever growing number of people I see sleeping rough on the streets every day as I go to work.

  11. HeyThere! says:

    I can’t help but feel bad for her also. Only on the press aspect of it. She’s marrying a man she loves whom is a great guy by all accounts! And I don’t get alone with 100% of my family members, lol, she will be just fine. Smile, say “Hi”, and avoid them by talking to others. She will be FINE!

  12. Ana Stacia says:

    I also feel sorry for her. Sounds a dream job on paper but she can never be anonymous again nor can she express certain opinions ever again. She may be used to that on a minor level as an actress but this is something COMPLETELY different.

  13. Beth says:

    I also feel a little sorry for her. She went from being kind of unknown to now being on the cover of magazines, on gossip sites, TV talk shows discussing the couples future life, and fans excited about her wedding. It’s her decision, she can leave if she wants, but she’ll now always be known as Harry’s girlfriend, fiancé, wife, and people will always be nosy about everything she does for the rest of her life

  14. JA says:

    No sympathy…curiosity more than anything. It will be a very interesting ride and it will be quite a rough road at times. She signed up eyes wide open though so let’s see how it goes down

  15. DiligentDiva says:

    I think playing Philip (especially this season, which is going to show how his struggle truly was) has shaped these statements. For all his faults nobody can deny Prince Philip has had a tragic background and struggled within the royal family. Whether we think it was all justified or not, for a man like Philip in the 1950s and 1960s it would have been horribly insulting for his children not to have his name. Philip attempted to change the monarchy in a lot of ways people don’t even realize, which is why I think Philip admired and liked Diana, he knew what it felt like to be her in some regard.
    I agree I don’t feel bad, but it is true life as Meghan knows it is over. It’s sad to think how her life is going to change due to falling in love with Prince Harry. I wouldn’t want that life.

    • imqrious2 says:

      Philip didn’t have Philip’s name! lol. He gave it up and changed it for marriage. Mountbatten was a made up name; his uncle’s name (which he chose to use) was originally Battenberg. Truly didn’t matter if the kids were Windsor or not. They were never going to have “his” name.

  16. HoustonGrl says:

    Every time someone says we should feel sorry for these people, I disagree. They have access to the most exclusive and private vacation resorts where everyone rolls out the red carpet for them, often they don’t even have to pay. They inherit billions of dollars in property where they are guaranteed servants and privacy, have no house chores or landscaping, belong to the most exclusive clubs, gyms, etc. Have front row seats to every major world event, get to meet all the leaders and diplomats and brilliant minds of their time, have the most glamorous jewelry and clothing, have private security etc. etc. The list is endless and more than makes up for any lack of anonymity.

  17. Renee says:

    Why feel sorry for her? This didn’t just fall into her lap. She’s had more than enough time to get a taste for this lifestyle and walk away if it isn’t for her.

    • Helen Smith says:

      She chased this opportunity moving herself into British high society circles. I’m curious how things turn out for her but not planning on feeling sorry for her if they go south. As the article says she is a grown woman with an education and life experience and I would add she chased opportunities just like this one.

    • Maria says:

      It’s not like she is being dragged kicking and screaming. I think she has a very good idea what she is getting herself into, but this is what she wanted. Harry didn’t exactly have to twist her arm. The other two girlfriends opted out.

  18. Luca76 says:

    I don’t feel sorry for her but I do find the whole spectacle decidedly unromantic. Like why would you want to do that to your life just because ‘love’. They do seem enchanted with eachother and I hope it works out but really it’s you give away your autonomy,personality, belief system all to be a peon in the ranking of that family. She’s going to have to curtsy and bow to his freaking cousins.

  19. Rhys says:

    What is he talking about, “feel sorry for her”? First of all, the woman loves being a famous person and has been working on her career with the idea of becoming a celebrity. She has the right personality for the job. Second, she will be married and living with the young royal, surrounded by his friends who are all roughly the same age. Do you think Kate or Wills spend that much time with the Old Guard? During the official events, but other than that all they do is go on vacation, shop, redecorate their beautiful houses, get people to cook and clean for them and occasionally “work.”

    I read that Meghan had said in the past that she doesn’t want to be a “lady who lunches” but wants to become a “woman who works.” This will be a perfect, controlled environment for her – being involved in causes she cares and not have to worry about logistics, money and all the boring stuff. Just show up, look great and show that you care.

    I have no idea what this “Phillip” is on about. Meghan is going to live the life many woman dream of.

    • NJBeachGirl says:

      Meghan is going to have to show up and care about things that the BRF deem acceptable for a female royal. No more tampon talk from Meghan. I guarantee no more women’s rights topics. The UN was considered to be too controversial!! Lord!!
      It will be bland, safe things. She will be a bland, safe woman. They all are, and if they aren’t, the firm and the media will slap her right back into being a bland, safe woman.
      A curtsying, walking behind her husband, pretty sparkly Barbie Doll with some charity events picked for her by the Firm.

  20. Falum says:

    Meghan is gonna love the attention and glory. Once the queen goes Will and Harry are gonna chill out and play by their own rules and that includes their wives. Its gonna end up like eurotrash Monaco

  21. Marianne says:

    Yes, she is already used to the public life and fame…but the royal family is a whole different ball game. There’s going to be all sorts of rules that she’ll have to adhere to. How to dress, what to name their children, how they’ll get married etc. Yes, she isnt some naive young girl but her life is changing in a big way. She isn’t going to have as many freedoms as before.

  22. Joannie says:

    Personally I don’t think she had a clue what she signed up for. Once the bloom is off the rose reality will set in. She’s going to be working for the firm for the rest of her life. No or very little control.

  23. Aerohead21 says:

    I think she was looking for something higher profile than her ex to help her fame. What higher fame than Prince Harry? Of all the princes on the planet who aren’t married….yeah the British one. He’s the most publicized one that an American girl knows about.

    Also…let’s talk Matt Smith cuz I love me some Matt Smith. Part of me is happy he’s got Lily James or whatever her name is…the girl in the live action Cinderella. But part of me wants to do like all crazy stans and say NO MATT YOU MUST LOVE ME AND ONLY ME

    From the married mother of 4 :)

    Honestly though, they seem happy together and down to earth as they can be considering their trajectories are continually going up.

  24. Ozogirl says:

    I’m going to miss him in the role of Philip! Meghan has a rough road ahead of her I think.

  25. Brittany says:

    Feel sorry for her? No. She wanted this, pursued it, and she will have to deal with it. She may have a small idea of what will happen but reality will be much different.

    She should probably keep her American citizenship as a dual national. Ya know, just in case…

  26. Anare says:

    Does Matt Smith think that playing the role of a royal family member makes him an expert on their private lives? Please sit down, 🙄

    • bikki says:

      not an expert, but he definitely has more knowledge than I do (as an American viewer) when it comes to the royal family.
      also anyone can come to a similar conclusion as a fellow human being. I think if I were 18-20yrs old again I’d find this very romantic, but now that I’m years older, reading how she can no longer pursue what SHE wants (aside from pursuing her love for Harry) is very sad to me.
      personally, I’d turn down marrying into this because I’d rather have autonomy over how I live my own life