The Sunday Times had a new story about how much the Windsors hate The Crown. Someone must have gotten it through King Charles’s thick skull that his whining was unnecessary and petty, because now the palace machinery is leaning into “other members of the family hated the series too!” People like… Prince Philip, who has been portrayed by a variety of actors in a number of storylines throughout all of the seasons. In one storyline in Season 2 – the episode “Paterfamilias” – they focused on the death of Philip’s sister Princess Cecile, who died in a plane crash in November 1937. The Crown showed Philip’s father, Prince Andrew of Greece, blaming the then-teenaged Philip for Cecile’s death. In any case, Philip considered suing The Crown and we’re only hearing about it now. Plus, there are quotes about Prince William.
Philip considered suing: The Duke of Edinburgh spoke to his lawyers about suing Netflix over a false portrayal of him in The Crown that left him deeply “upset”. Prince Philip consulted Farrer & Co, the blue-blooded law firm that has advised the royal family since the 1930s, after the series featured a plotline about the death of his older sister, Princess Cecilie. Hugo Vickers, a royal historian and author, said: “I know Prince Philip consulted his lawyer about it, to ask ‘What can I do about it?’ He was very upset about the way that was portrayed. He was human. He could be hurt like anybody else.”
Philip was very upset about that episode in particular: While staying with the Queen and Philip, a close friend of the royal family said Philip had expressed anger at his portrayal. “I remember sitting next to the Duke of Edinburgh at a dinner, and him being so upset about it and what it [The Crown] was saying about him.”
Never complain, never explain: Vickers, the author of The Crown Dissected, which sets out errors in the series, said: “[Philip] was not displeased when I put the record straight.” Philip chose not to pursue legal action and the long-held royal mantra of “never complain, never explain” prevailed.
Prince William is also very engorged with rage: It can also be revealed that the Prince of Wales believes The Crown is “damaging” to the royal family. A close friend of Prince William said he found the fallout from the series increasingly difficult as the events portrayed come closer to the present day. The friend said: “He has spoken about it, and now, as it is coming closer to the present, he is particularly concerned about it. William does think it is damaging. The royal family know a lot of it is nonsense, but it is really harsh and hurtful.”
Again, “this makes the Windsors look bad” is not a real critique of any piece of art, certainly not a dramatization of the Windsors actual lives and experiences. The Crown’s intention isn’t “to make the Windsors look good,” although there were much fewer complaints about The Crown when everyone was enjoying Claire Foy as a young, pretty queen. What’s interesting about Philip’s complaints in particular about the “Paterfamilias” episode is that it was one of the most sympathetic episodes for Charles – Peter Morgan really captured how much Charles hated Gordonstoun, how it was the wrong school for a sensitive, book-loving child, and that Philip bullied the f–k out of Charles from a young age.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, The Windsors.