Prince Philip through the lens of The Crown

Prince Philip through the lens of The Crown: From reluctant royal to bullying patriarch and cheating husband, FEMAIL reveals how Netflix painted an unflattering portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh

  • The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life in 2016 but Crown revisited story
  • FEMAIL takes look at how Prince Philip was portrayed in The Crown’s four series 
  • In season 1, is shown to a reluctant royal struggling to embrace his consort role
  • In series 2, Duke flirts with scandal and works on his relationship with the Queen
  • In the third series, reflects on his achievements and tries to modernise the Firm 
  • In the fourth series, champions Diana and tries to meddle in Charles’ love affair

The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life in 2016, but since then avid royal watchers have been able to get a glimpse of the man behind the public persona thanks to the hit Netflix series The Crown.

Indeed, since he stepped back from public life, people have seen more of the fictionalised version of the Queen’s late husband, who passed away this morning at Windsor Castle aged 99, than they have of the real man himself.

Portrayed as a reluctant consort in his 20s, played by Matt Smith during the first two series of the show, the series depicts the Duke as frustrated by the constraints of his role and giving up his navy career, while battling for status as head of the family.

To assert his authority, the royal is shown insisting that Charles and Anne keep the Mountbatten surname and that the family continues to live at Clarence House rather than move into Buckingham Palace.

Tobias Menzies takes over the role in series three, which shows the Duke as more resigned to his role but battling a midlife crisis that sees him become obsessed with the 1969 moon landing.

And in the most recent series, he’s shown meddling in Prince Charles’ relationship with Princess Diana, first pressuring him into marriage and then later encouraging their divorce.

Despite criticism of the accuracy of the show’s protrayals, earlier this year, Prince Harry said the show is ‘loosely based on the truth’ and captures the feeling of being expected to put ‘duty and service above family and everything else’. 

But how accurate was The Crown’s portrayal of the Prince Philip, especially some of the less than flattering aspects – such as carousing with friends while leaving the Queen out in the cold, a supposed affair with a ballet dancer and the ‘bullying’ of his son Prince Charles?

The Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from public life in 2016 and died today aged 99, was portrayed by Matt Smith (left) in the first two series of The Crown before Tobias Menzies took over the role in series three (right) 

But how accurate was The Crown’s portrayal of the late royal, especially some of the less than flattering aspects – such as carousing with friends while leaving the Queen out in the cold, a supposed affair with a ballet dancer and the ‘bullying’ of his son Prince Charles? (pictured, in 2018) 

Season 1: New husband torn between loyalty to the Queen and frustration over end of his army career and battles with palace aides 

Season one deals with the early years of the then Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to dashing Philip of Greece, from their wedding day to their honeymoon period trip to Malta and subsequently Kenya, where she learns of her father’s death. 

Elizabeth and Philip return to London for the funeral – and Philip is tasked with  planning the Queen’s coronation ceremony.

With his wife on the throne, Philip has a number of requests about their new life, including wanting their children Charles and Anne to keep the Mountbatten surname and for the family to continue living at Clarence House rather than move into Buckingham Palace. 

Queen Elizabeth drops the matters, which leaves Philip increasingly frustrated. 

Elizabeth soon regrets her decision to place Philip in charge of preparations after he upsets her by suggesting he should forgo kneeling to pay homage when she is crowned, and irritates the committee by insisting that they televise the event. 

The Crown viewers were introduced to a dashing Prince Philip of Greece, played by Matt Smith, in the first ever episode of the hit series

Just as in the hit Netflix series, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip married on November 20 1947 (pictured waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace) 

Elizabeth II was crowned during a ceremony on June 2, 1953, with the couple departing on a six-month Commonwealth tour shortly afterwards. 

Philip grows frustrated with his wife using him as a ‘prop’, resulting in a confrontation that is recorded by photographers. 

While Elizabeth convinces them to surrender their recordings, she and Philip are unable to resolve their argument.  

Later in the series, the relationship between the Queen and Prince Philip is plagued by more tension as they struggle to find the right balance between royal duties and family life. 

Elizabeth and Philip later travel to Kenya, where they spend the night in an incredible treetop look-out and encounter elephants, but their trip is cut short by the death of the King

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were in Kenya when her father died, and rushed back to England immediately (pictured during the trip) 

Philip begins spending more time away from the Palace, while Elizabeth fills the void by enjoying the company of her horse-racing manager and friend Porchey.

Tension escalates between the pair, and the Queen Mother complains about Philip’s domineering attitude towards Charles. 

She suggests that Elizabeth asks Philip to open the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne so that he can adjust to life in her shadow. 

A five-month royal tour is later added to the itinerary, with Elizabeth suggesting her husband be thankful that everyone is helping him find a public role.

VERDICT: Mostly true 

While elements of Prince Philip’s depiction in The Crown are inaccurate and overly dramatised, many scenes indicating his frustration over his position within the family and his ambition to modernise the monarchy ring true.

When Philip and Elizabeth married, they expected to be able to live most of their young lives as duke and princess, and spent several happy years in Malta.

But Philip quickly found himself forfeiting his naval career to support his wife – an uncomfortably advanced spousal dynamic, especially for a headstrong officer in the 1950s.  

In 1992, he told an interviewer: ‘I’d much rather have stayed in the navy, frankly.’ He later called his resignation ‘naturally disappointing’.   

The Duke of Edinburgh faced particular opposition when he pushed for the coronation of the Queen to be televised to the masses in 1953

The Netflix series sees Prince Philip challenging courtiers over televising the Queen’s coronation and he remains keen to modernise the monarchy 

As depicted in the series, the couple were in Kenya at a treetop hotel on February 6, 1952, when they heard of the death of Elizabeth’s father, and rushed back to the UK. 

The Duke of Edinburgh faced particular opposition when he pushed for the coronation of the Queen to be televised to the masses in 1953, according to Antonio Caprarica. Speaking to TV 2000’s show Siamo Noi, Mr Caprarica said: ‘This was a young prince with many ambitions for reform. 

‘Among these, the idea of ​​the televised coronation, which all courtiers, Prime Minister Churchill, the Queen’s mother, fiercely opposed. In short, he had everyone against him.’

The royal commentator said the Queen ultimately acted as a broker for peace and agreed that showing the coronation on television would help the Royal Family.

He continued: ‘To once again praise Elizabeth’s political sense, she was the one who in the end said “well no, let’s try it. Let’s do it. We must adapt and get used to this extraordinary means of mass communication”.’

However, elements of the coronation storyline are likely fabricated, including Prince Philip’s refusal to kneel in front of his Queen at her coronation.

‘I doubt Prince Philip ever spoke those words to his wife, because he came from a royal house which had borrowed so much of its ritual and protocol from the British Royal Family,’ expert Christopher Wilson said, referring to the tense scene in The Crown. ‘He knew full well what was expected of him in public, and was prepared to go along with it.’ 

But the royal’s desire for Elizabeth and his children to have the surname Mountbatten was said to have been a sore-point for him.

Just as portrayed in the series, the royal’s desire for Elizabeth and his children to have the surname Mountbatten was said to have been a sore-point for him

The series depicts Prince Philip’s frustration over his lack of dynamic role, as well as his annoyance that his children didn’t share his last name 

In Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage, biographer Gyles Brandreth reports the Duke’s private remark: ‘I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.’  

As in The Crown, courtiers were wary of Prince Charles and Princess Anne taking on Philip’s chosen last name of Mountbatten. The palace aides feared that this gave too much weight to the Mountbatten family over the Windsors, and in 1952, Elizabeth announced that her children would use the last name of ‘Windsor’.

However, after the death of the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary and Winston Churchill, the Queen issued an Order in Council in 1960 declaring that her descendants not bearing royal styles and titles (i.e. Prince or Royal Highness) may use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.   

Philip’s ideas and drive to modernise the Royal Family continued after he was forced to accept he would have to relocate to Buckingham Palace despite having demanded his family be allowed to stay at Clarence House after the coronation.

The Duke ultimately agreed to the move, but set out to bring not only the Royal Family into the new era but also the royal residence. His focus on revolutionising the system left him open to clashes with his mother-in-law.  

Last year a documentary claimed the Queen Mother initially didn’t approve of Prince Philip as a match for her daughter, then Princess Elizabeth, because she saw him as a ‘dangerously progressive’ man.

According to the documentary, The Private Lives of the Windsors, as a newlywed, Philip wanted to move away from his in-laws and pave the way for his future with his new wife, which created distance in the family.

The Queen Mother and Prince Philip continued to clash, notably over the direction of the Firm and the education of the future king, Prince Charles.

‘The Duke of Edinburgh was determined to make a man of his first born son,’ Piers Brendon explains, ‘but very early on, Charles was a wimp and the Duke of Edinburgh never really understood his son.

Shortly after the birth of Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip depart on a six-month Commonwealth tour

The couple did in fact travel across the world in 1954, months after the Queen gave birth to her daughter (pictured in New Zealand) 

‘Indeed, his son became a source of considerable irritation to him as he grew up, whereas the Queen mother reported what he needed was delicate nurturing, sympathy and understanding’.

And it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Queen and Prince Philip – the scene in which the couple storm out of their home after arguing and are caught on camera is widely considered to be accurate. 

Members of the media saw the Duke of Edinburgh storming out of the door during their royal tour of the Commonwealth in 1954, with the Queen following behind him shouting and visibly angry. Reportedly, just as on The Crown, the monarch emerged a few minutes later and politely spoke with the press, who quickly handed over the footage to the royal couple. It has never been seen publicly. 

Season 2: A restless consort who drives the Queen to breaking point as she fears he’s been unfaithful

The second series opens with the Suez Crisis of 1956 – a time of political turmoil which the drama uses to reflect a tumultuous period in the Queen and Prince Philip’s marriage. 

During a tense discussion aboard the royal yacht in Lisbon in the opening episode, Philip brands their union a ‘prison’ while the Queen asks her husband what would make it ‘easier on him’ to remain together.

The second series opens with the Suez Crisis of 1956 – a time of political turmoil which the show uses to reflect a tumultuous period in the Queen and Prince Philip’s marriage

The drama heavily implies the prince was unfaithful; before Philip departs for a tour of the Commonwealth with his male entourage (described as a ‘five-month stag do’), the Queen is seen finding a photograph of ballerina Galina Ulanova in his briefcase. Viewers then watch Elizabeth torturing herself by attending a Bolshoi ballet to see her perform.

During the tour the Duke dances with a new woman in every port and enjoys drinking games and banter with his chums – fellow members of the Thursday Club held at a restaurant in Soho, where more debauchery takes place.

This season also delves into Prince Philip’s childhood, which is portrayed as particularly tough. In one scene, Philip is accused by his father of being responsible for his sister’s death. After he punches a boy at school he’s forbidden from visiting Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark in Germany as planned.

This season also delves into Prince Philip’s childhood, which is portrayed as tough (pictured at the funeral of his sister)

When Cecilie finds out, she decides to fly to England instead – however the plane in which she’s travelling hits a factory chimney and crashes, killing her. When Philip’s father sees him at her funeral, he cruelly declares: ‘It’s because of you boy that we are burying my favourite child.’

Verdict: Mostly false

In 1957, a statement from the Queen’s spokesman denied a rift between her and Prince Philip. 

There was never a suggestion of an affair between the Duke of Edinburgh and Ulanova, though it is possible he was admirer of her from afar as she did perform to a sell-out crowd in London in 1956. The Queen was among those who secured a ticket and apparently saw her perform.

The dancer who was linked to Philip was Pat Kirkwood, whom he met in 1948 when he visited her dressing room and took her out to dinner, sparking gossip and headlines including ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’.

The dancer who was linked to Philip was Pat Kirkwood (pictured), whom he met in 1948 when he visited her dressing room and took her out to dinner

However Pat always strenuously denied any rumours of impropriety. Philip also once famously responded to a question about his alleged infidelity by arguing: ‘How could I? I’ve had a detective in my company, night and day, since 1947.’ 

Philip’s sister did die in a plane crash in 1937, along with her husband and their two children, but it wasn’t Philip’s fault. Royal historian Hugo Vickers criticised the makers of The Crown for suggesting that his father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, blamed him for Cecilie’s death, claiming it was ‘the worst thing’ they did in the second series.

‘They cook up the reason… why his sister was forced to attend a family wedding, hates flying, gets into an aeroplane and her plane hits a chimney in Ostend and she and all her family are killed,’ The Express reported.

In 1957, a statement from the Queen’s spokesman denied a rift between her and Prince Philip (pictured in August 1956 on a visit to South Mist And Benbecula, Scotland)

‘That did happen. But… it had nothing to do with Prince Philip whatsoever. They then show her funeral with Nazis marching about the Swastikas and that sort of thing. Fair enough, that was what Darmstadt was like then.

‘They then have a disgraceful scene where Prince Philip’s father is shouting at him. So, they attribute the death of his sister to him.’ 

Season 3: Enters a mid-life crisis which manifests as an obsession with the moon landing in 1969

Tobias Menzies takes up the role of Prince Phillip in series three – now a father-of-four who has come to accept his royal role and is fully supportive of the Queen.

He has come to be a key member of the Firm and one of the main drivers of its modernisation. In episode four, he insists they take part in a documentary showing their day-to-day lives in a bid to make them appear more normal and improve their public image.

The same episode suggests Philip wants to hide his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, from the public, due to her mental health issues. 

She travels from Greece to the UK after leaving her convent, and takes up residence at Buckingham Palace. 

Tobias Menzies takes on the role of Prince Philip in the third season of the Netflix series, which claims the Duke of Edinburgh went through a mid-life crisis

The Duke of Edinburgh attending a polo match with the Queen in Windsor Park on August 6 1967

Philip asks the Queen to give her a small room in a remote wing, arguing she’s spent much of her life in mental institutions and shouldn’t be seen. He claims Alice is only ‘technically’ his mother because she gave birth to him.

He is reluctant to speak to Alice directly, and spends most of the episode avoiding her.  

As part of his plan to make the Firm more relatable and prove it’s ‘good value for money’, Philip urges his daughter Anne to give an interview to the Guardian.

However the rebellious young royal organises for her grandmother, Princess Alice, to speak to the reporter instead. The subsequent feature praises Alice as having ‘done more good’ than most people and calls her a ‘blessing’ – and is credited with saving the Royal Family’s reputation in the eyes of the British taxpayer. 

Having read the story, Philip later apologises to his mother for his lack of faith in her. 

Princess Alice of Battenberg portrayed in The Crown. The show suggests she gave an interview about her mental health issues

Prince Philip with his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg in June 1957, at the marriage of Princess Margeritha of Baden and Prince Tomislavof Yugoslavia

Now in his forties, Phillip begins to ponder his purpose in life and is seen becoming disillusioned. He admits to going through a kind of ‘crisis’ – explored in detail during the episode Moondust.  

It coincides with the Prince’s growing interest in the July 1969 Moon landing, which borders on an obsession. He appears riveted by the coverage of the event, following every report on the team of astronauts attempting the feat. 

He barely talks of anything else, and likens Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to gods.   

The episode culminates with Philip privately meeting with the trio, where his fantasy is shattered when he sees them all battling colds and realises they are ordinary humans. 

Philip also meets the new Dean of Windsor, Robin Woods, who asks him whether he can use one of the Palace’s empty rooms as a centre for burnt-out men of faith – an initiative that the Duke of Edinburgh initially ridicules. 

However, it later becomes St George’s House Trust, an organisation based at Windsor Castle committed to effecting change by nurturing wisdom through dialogue. 

VERDICT: Mostly false   

It’s difficult to verify many of the claims made in the third series, but some of Philip’s key storylines appear to be largely fictional. 

There’s no evidence Philip went through a midlife crisis, or that he was obsessed with the moon landing. Sally Bedell Smith, a royal historian and author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, told NBC News: ‘I don’t think he would’ve known a midlife crisis if it slapped him in the face.’

Smith went on to say that the idea Philip would be so engrossed in the moon landing was ‘preposterous’, adding: ‘He wouldn’t have been sitting around brooding about not being an astronaut.’ 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured in 1974 in Badminton. The Crown series three claims that Prince Philip went through a ‘midlife crisis’ but there is not evidence he ever did

Olivia Coleman as the Queen and Menzies as Prince Philip in the third series of The Crown, which sees the couple struggling with ageing

The suggestion Philip was the driving force behind the 1969 Royal Family documentary, a collaboration between the BBC and ITV, is also mostly false.  

The idea came from the Palace’s new royal press secretary William Heseltine, an Australian public relations expert. He wanted to encourage public support for a monarchy that was increasingly seen as out-of-touch.

The programme was met with widespread praise and proved so popular that it was aired again that same year and once more in 1972. It hasn’t been broadcast in full since, but clips were made available as part of an exhibition for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012. 

Princess Alice did live with the Royal Family in Buckingham Palace from 1967 during her later years and stayed with them until her death in 1969. However, she did not give an interview to the Guardian and did not speak of her mental illness publicly.  

There is no evidence the Duke of Edinburgh was trying to hide his mother in any way, but he did spend most of his childhood away from her. The family fled Greece in 1922 for Paris after being court martialled by the new military government. At the time, the Duke of Edinburgh was just one year old.

When he was six, in 1928, Philip was sent to the UK, where he studied at Cheam School and lived with his maternal grandmother Victoria Mountbatten, Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven at Kensington Palace.

Princess Alice, who was admitted to a sanitarium in 1930, reportedly did not see her son again until 1937, at the funeral of her daughter Princess Cecilie. She attended Philip’s wedding to the Queen at Westminster Abbey in 1947 and photographs show them attending events together on several occasions. 

As for the creation of what would become St George’s House, the dates don’t match up; it was co-founded by Robin Woods and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1966 – three years prior to the moon landing. 

Season 4: Meddling father who tried to influence Charles’ marriage to Diana and later pushed him to get a divorce 

Season 4 of The Crown is the most liberal with the truth, and its release even called for ‘fiction warnings’ from royal circles, campaign groups and MPs.

The series focused on the Eighties, with Charles’ marriage to Diana the main storyline. It portrayed the Duke of Edinburgh as a meddling figure who pressured his son to marry – and then later divorce – Lady Spencer.

Philip is showed as pro-Diana, after meeting her for the first time at Balmoral, where the Royal Family spend the summer.  

Season 4 of The Crown is the most liberal with the truth, and it’s release even called for ‘fiction warnings’ from campaign groups and MPs. The series focused on the Eighties, with Charles’ marriage to Diana being the main storyline, and shows the Duke of Edinburgh (right) as a meddling figure who pressured his son to marry and then later divorce the Princess of Wales

Lady Diana and the Duke of Edinburgh are successful in killing a stag, a moment that seemingly cements their relationship, and the pair delight in recounting the killing to the family.

Philip later calls Prince Charles to the hanging room where he tells his son that he should marry Diana.  

In a later scene set in 1990 at Sandringham, by which point Charles and Diana are at breaking point, Philip is seen wading into his son’s marriage by telling the Princess that her husband will ‘come around eventually when he realises he can never have the other one’ – referring to Camilla.

He adds: ‘Would it help you to realise we all think he’s quite mad?’

The series ends with Prince Philip issuing a warning to Princess Diana after the royal says she might have to ‘officially break away’ from the family 

But Philip’s jovial demeanour switches when Diana tells him she feels she has ‘no option but to break away, officially’.

Philip warns: ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you… let’s just say I can’t see it ending well for you,’ to which Diana replies: ‘I hope that isn’t a threat, sir?’

The series depicts Philip as jealous of his son’s father-son relationship with Lord Mountbatten, whom he had also thought of as a paternal figure.

The Duke of Edinburgh (Tobias Menzies) opens up to Prince Charles about Lord Mountbatten in an emotional scene

‘I barely knew my own father,’ Philip tells Charles. ‘Dickie understood that and stepped in as a surrogate. That meant the world to me… Then he switched horses and started caring for you. I was no longer the priority.’  

The Duke’s close relationship with his daughter Anne is also explored in more depth. In one episode, the Queen appears thrown by the idea that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher could so openly confess to having a favourite child.

However Prince Philip tells her that ‘any honest parent’ would admit to having a favourite, and says it is ‘obvious’ which one is hers, while revealing without hesitation that his is Anne.  

Verdict: Mostly false

The Balmoral test has been revealed to be real by royal insiders, with Princess Diana impressing her future in-laws on her first trip to the Scottish castle. 

The amount of time Diana spent with Philip, and whether or not she ‘gained his approval’, is more up for debate.

In reality, Diana stayed with her sister Jane and brother-in-law Robert Fellowes, who had a cottage on the estate on her visit, which was only her third date with Charles.

According to Andrew Morton’s biography on the late royal, every day Charles would call on Diana to do an outdoor activity while there.   

Later, in the series, Philip argues that Charles will come to love Diana the older and ‘more confident and beautiful’ she gets, although there’s no evidence of this being true.  

In The Crown, Philip argues that Charles will come to love Diana the older and ‘more confident and beautiful’ she gets, although there’s no evidence of this being true (pictured: Charles and Diana after announcing their engagement in 1981)

Royal experts have cast doubt on the validity of the Sandringham scene between Philip and Diana, with many seeing it as a thinly-veiled reference to conspiracy theories surrounding Diana’s death.

According to Ingrid Seward, the Duke did try to wade in and help the unhappy couple. Writing in the Daily Mail, she claims he tried to talk to Charles about his marital difficulties and the effect they were having on the royal institution. 

‘It was meant as fatherly advice, but because of the distant nature of their relationship, the conversations usually ended with Charles looking at his watch and making an excuse to leave the room,’ Ingrid said. 

‘He also tried reaching out to his unhappy daughter-in-law by writing her dozens of letters. In one of these, he told her that he wished “to do my utmost to help you and Charles to the best of my ability. But I am quite ready to concede that I have no talent as a marriage counsellor!”

‘His suggestions included trying to find things Diana could do together with Charles – and he listed common interests that they shared, which is a tried-and-tested method favoured by marriage guidance counsellors.

‘To start with, the letters — which he signed “Pa” — were very sympathetic. He said that he knew first-hand the difficulties of marrying into the Royal Family and seemed to place much of the blame for her marital problems on Charles.’ 

The Duke of Edinburgh undoubtedly enjoyed a very close relationship with Lord Mountbatten (pictured in 1978). However, Philip spoke out on several occasions to make it clear they did not have a father-son relationship

Writing in November 2020, one of Philip’s biographer’s, Hugo Vickers, said the Prince ‘deserves better than to be the target of the cruellest lie of all’ in the Peter Morgan drama, alluding to the explosive Sandringham scene with Diana. 

Writing for the Mail on Sunday last year, he argued the Duke of Edinburgh ‘deserved better’ than his portrayal in the Crown.

Speaking of the now-infamous ‘Is that a threat?’ line, he wrote: ‘Who can be in any doubt that this fictional conversation is a thinly veiled and chilling reference to Diana’s impending death?

‘It supports the scarcely credible rumours, still fuelled by the internet, that Diana’s fatal car crash in a tunnel in Paris in 1997 was a murderous “hit” ordered by Prince Philip and designed to look like an accident. It’s hard to imagine a more hurtful allegation than painting Philip as a mafioso bent on bumping off a fragile daughter-in-law.

‘And to hint at this in such a convincing way, with the multi-million-pound budgets, extravagant sets and convincing actors at Netflix’s disposal, makes it all the more egregious.’ 

He added that Philip had ‘a good bond’ with Diana, who affectionately called him Pa, and he worked hard to see if there was a way that Charles and she might be reconciled. 

The Duke of Edinburgh undoubtedly enjoyed a very close relationship with Lord Mountbatten. However, Philip spoke out on several occasions to make it clear they did not have a father-son relationship.

In her biography, Prince Philip Revealed, Ingrid Seward quotes Philip as saying: ‘Mountbatten certainly had an influence on the course of my life, but not so much on my ideas and attitudes. I suspect he tried too hard to make himself a son out of me.’

Another time, he said: ‘One impression I think needs to be corrected is that the whole of my life has been spent here [in the UK] and that I was brought up by Lord Mountbatten, neither of which is true.’   

One thing the series does gets correct is Princess Anne being Philip’s favourite child. Upon her birth he reportedly called her ‘the sweetest girl’, and as she grew into a ‘confident extrovert’, wrote royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith in 2017, she could respond in kind to some of the Duke’s blunter comments.  

In the biography Prince Philip Revealed, Ingrid Seward wrote: ‘Philip’s relationship with his more robust daughter, Anne, was completely different. He paid more attention to her than he did to his son simply because she was more responsive.

‘He laughed with Anne in a way he never did with Charles. He made acerbic remarks to tease her but she could deal with them, cheerfully braving his ridicule, saying anything she wanted and laughing back at him.

‘Anne is as like her father as Charles is unalike. She and Philip are energetic, brisk and efficient and both try to fit as much into a day as they possibly can.’

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