How does the portrait of Prince Philip in the Netflix drama “The Crown” compare to the real-life man who accompanied Queen Elizabeth II?
In “The Crown” an attractive army officer takes the heart of a future queen. But he gets irritated at having to be second-best and goes against the limits of decorum and, perhaps, fidelity. Eventually they become a trustworthy and patriarch couple.
Prince Felipe lived in the shadow of his wife and the same happens with Felipe in “The Crown.” But some episodes create a more complete portrait of the man, or at least the character (played by Matt Smith, Tobias Menzies, and Jonathan Pryce).
Peter Morgan, creator of the series, said that “The Crown” is the product of historical research and imagination. Which includes scenes that should not be taken into account as facts.
We do not know if Felipe was as rigid in his upbringing with Carlos as he was sensitive with Ana as “The Crown” presents him. Neither are the hints of marital infidelity that the drama about Felipe presents.
So far the series has carried Felipe into middle age, covering only half of the prince’s nearly 100 years of life. “The Crown” also lacks the remorseless moments in which he would say explosive phrases about women and people of color.
Comparative aspects of Prince Philip in “The Crown” and real life
In “The Crown”: Reluctant to give up traditional male privilege, Felipe wants his children to bear his last name (Mountbatten), not Elizabeth’s (Windsor). The answer is no.
When Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, dies and she ascends the throne, Felipe abandons military service for the role of royal consort. This is followed by lawsuits with Isabel, including her reluctance to kneel during the coronation.
In the end they find their balance and Felipe turns out to be a valuable half of a loving marriage.
Actually: When Felipe lost the fight to use the Mountbatten surname for the family, according to Gyles Brandreth’s book on the royal couple “Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage”, he complained “I’m nothing but a bloody amoeba” considering himself a man incapable of giving his name to his children.
Eight years later it was decided that the descendants of the royal couple would use a compound surname, such as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the son of Harry and Meghan.
Whether he protested or not, Felipe knelt before the newly crowned queen in 1952 and vowed to become “her servant for life and earthly worship.”
On the 50th anniversary of their wedding, Isabel called him “my strength and my permanence.”
In “The Crown”: In 1969, Felipe is absorbed by the television coverage of the arrival of man on the Moon looking for new emotions. After common royal activities in dental and textile factories, the prince trained as an airplane pilot has the opportunity to take control of a private jet.
He takes the plane to the limit of space, and while the pilot protests that the aircraft rumbles at its limit, Felipe replies: “Maybe, but look, we also live, just for a minute.”
Meeting with American astronauts when they visit England as part of their victory lap, Felipe tells them that his position and marriage prevented him from doing “the things that I would have liked as a man, as an adventurer.”
Actually: During World War II, Felipe took real action by serving on warships and destroyers. He was decorated and at age 21 he reached the rank of first lieutenant in the Royal Navy.
Although he had a schedule full of royal commitments and headed hundreds of charitable organizations, he learned to fly in the 1950s. And he was an avid polo player, as well as sailing yachts, painting and collecting art. He was still driving cars at 97, but quit after flipping his Land Rover truck in a crash.
Man of faith
In “The Crown”: Philip is asked to approve the creation of a kind of spiritual retreat on the grounds of Windsor Castle for a clergyman in need of middle-aged inspiration. He ridicules the plan as “hot air,” but agrees and ends up finding comfort in this version of group therapy for men.
“How is your faith?” he remembers his mother asking him worriedly. Then he tells the group and his dean: “I am here to admit that I have lost it … I come to say ‘help'”.
Actually: Robin Woods, the then dean of Windsor, proposed to create St. George’s House in 1996 and Philip became its co-founder and enthusiastic fundraiser. This is related to a book that accompanies “The Crown” by historian Robert Lacey. The center conducts debates on contemporary issues, its site says.
Woods and Philip were lifelong friends, and the prince used to comment on their sermons at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. Felipe’s funeral will be held there on April 17.
Baptized under the Greek Orthodox Church, although an Anglican believer and married to the highest authority in the Church of England, Philip was a visitor to Mount Athos, a monastic community and religious sanctuary in Greece. Leaders of various faiths in Britain said that he had a keen interest in spiritual matters.
His coat of arms says “God is my help.”
In Diana’s team
In “The Crown”: When Diana Spencer is introduced to a family gathering at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, she and Felipe hit it off on a hunting day and he supports her marriage to Carlos.
Carlos and Diana’s relationship turns sour and Diana tells Felipe that she is considering separating from her husband and the royal family, which she finds insensitive. Felipe warns her against making that decision and presents her with another perspective: They are all external outside of the queen: “the person, the only person that matters” is her, she tells him.
Actually: In letters between Diana and Felipe that were allegedly leaked, Flipe supports Diana and criticizes her son for his extramarital affair with his now wife Camila.
But following Diana’s remarks in a candid television interview and revealing biography, Felipe’s tone apparently turned harsher, and he wrote that she must “fit in” or leave the family.
Developed by La Noticia with information from AP.