The Crown: Did The Queen and Lord ‘Porchie’ Porchester have a romantic relationship?

What's the true story of Queen Elizabeth II's relationship with her racing manager?

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Episode nine of The Crown on Netflix is probably one of the series’ most dramatic, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s marriage nearing breaking point.

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At the heart of the conflict between the pair is Lord Porchester, the Queen’s dear friend with whom she shares a passion for horses.

The pair seem to have far more in common than the Royal couple, but what’s the real story of their relationship? And were they really more than just friends?

Who was Lord ‘Porchie’ Porchester?

Henry George Reginald Molyneux Herbert was born on January 19th 1924 to the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, Henry George Alfred Marius Victor Francis Herbert (they liked long names in those days) and his first wife.

His grandfather, also named George Herbert, was the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who famously discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun with Howard Carter, and whose ancestral home, Highclere Castle, provides the setting for Downton Abbey.

After his parents divorced when he was just 13 years old, the young Baron Porchester lived with his mother in London and attended Eton. He became a member of the Royal Horse Guards during the war and served in North Africa.

‘Porchie’, as he was known to close friends, was an equestrian enthusiast from an early age, and was breeding horses from the age of 19. He was a childhood friend of Elizabeth II, and the pair forged a firm bond through their shared love of horses and horse racing.

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Porchie went on to become the Queen’s racing manager in 1969, and was known as one of the few people who could contact Her Majesty directly to speak about her beloved horses.

He was also a keen statesman and local politician, who became the 7th Earl of Carnarvon following the death of his father in 1987.

Did Lord Porchester have a romantic affair with Queen Elizabeth II?

There were many rumours about the nature of the pair’s relationship, but the Royals have completely ignored any gossip that suggested that the Queen and Lord Porchester were anything more than firm friends.

For her there was only ever Philip, says Porchie in The Crown, and that’s the line from the Royal House too.

Who did Lord Porchester actually marry?

Just as The Crown suggests, Porchester became engaged to an Anglo-American woman, Jean Margaret Wallop, whom he married on January 7th 1956.

The pair went on to have three children, including the current Earl of Carnarvon, George Reginald Oliver Molyneux Herbert, who resides at Highclere Castle.

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The Queen was even present for his Christening.

Is Lord Porchester still alive?

Sadly not. The Queen’s dear friend died suddenly on September 11th 2001. His son in law, John Warren, succeeded him as her racing manager.

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The Crown is available to stream on Netflix