The Crown: what was Prince Philip really like as a young man?

How close does Matt Smith's swaggering, angry, funny Duke of Edinburgh come to the real thing?

Did he have affairs?



Prince Philip with Princess Elizabeth in June 1949

Biographer Philip Eade has suggested that in his single years, Philip’s romantic connections included actress Cobina Wright and debutante Osla Benning.

But while rumours have swirled of illicit liaisons after his marriage to Elizabeth, there has never been anything definitive, and no evidence has ever emerged.

Explaining his approach to Philip’s love life in the drama, writer Peter Morgan told the Radio Times: “I’m trying to make them human beings but, at the same time, I’m aware that nobody has come forward and identified people with whom Prince Philip did or did not have affairs. I’m not going to be the one to do that.”

Was he obsessed with learning to fly?


In The Crown, Philip develops a one-track mind about learning to fly, persuading Princess Margaret’s secret lover RAF Group Captain Peter Townsend to teach him.

Philip’s hobby is no invention: his first airborne flying lesson took place in 1952, he was presented with his Royal Air Force wings in 1953 and by his 70th birthday he had accrued over 5,000 pilot hours.

Did he really make such inappropriate jokes?


If anything, The Crown underplays how un-PC Philip can be. We do get a few jokes: on a visit to Kenya, the Prince compliments a tribal leader on his hat (It’s a crown – awkward). He also jokes about not wanting to be made into a “sissy” by his “queen”.

But over the years Philip has gained a reputation for much worse gaffes, including reportedly telling a British student during a visit to China, “If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes,” and joking with another who had visited Papua New Guinea: “You managed not to get eaten, then?”

Does he love the Queen?


Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth revisit Broadlands in Hampshire in 2007 to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. They spent their wedding night here in November 1947, at the former home of Prince Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten

After seven decades together, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are regarded as having one of the strongest royal marriages in history.


Is this what Claire Foy and Matt Smith will look like if they stay in their roles as Elizabeth and Philip…?