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Prince Philip: Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies on playing the duke in The Crown

Author : jalu
Publish Date : 2021-04-11 14:54:19
Prince Philip: Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies on playing the duke in The Crown

"Don't. Be. Ridiculous."

That, according to actor Matt Smith, was apparently the Duke of Edinburgh's terse response when asked whether he had ever watched The Crown.

Smith relayed the anecdote during a 2017 interview with the Guardian, as he reflected on his time playing the duke in the hugely successful Netflix drama.

The series portrays the inner life of Britain's modern-day Royal Family, from the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 to the break-up of Prince Charles's marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, in the early 1990s. The drama is set to continue in a new season in 2022.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith
IMAGE COPYRIGHTNETFLIX
image captionClaire Foy and Matt Smith as the royal couple in their early years
It has been showered with praise for its lavish sets, immense budget, compelling script and accomplished cast, and the awards have followed. More controversial though has been its relationship with the truth.

The royals are notoriously guarded about their private lives.


Even the duke's supposed stinging rebuke when asked whether he had watched the series is a matter of debate.

"Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but I just think he's a bit of a cool cat," said Smith, after relating the second-hand anecdote.

"And that's what I love about him: he's done what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, with whom he wants. He hasn't asked permission. And his wife's the Queen."

 

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Claire Foy and Matt Smith
IMAGE COPYRIGHTNETFLIX
The former Doctor Who star played the dashing, young Philip Mountbatten, who wooed Princess Elizabeth and became her royal consort.

Yet there were, in reality, limits to how much the duke really did what he wanted. Smith's portrayal of Philip takes in many of the compromises the prince was forced to make - giving up his title as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, resigning his career in the navy and, ultimately, swearing allegiance to the Queen.

When Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, Philip is depicted in the show asking her if he can be excused from kneeling to pay homage to her during the ceremony.

Matt Smith and Claire Foy
IMAGE COPYRIGHTNETFLIX
image captionPrince Philip (Matt Smith) knelt before the Queen (Claire Foy) during her 1953 coronation
So what did his role teach Smith about the man himself?

"In this day and age, with all the conversations we're having about being a man and maleness, and what it is to be empowered and respected as a woman - I just found that thrilling," he told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

"And also, I kind of sided with him, which is controversial. I felt, 'Yeah, I wouldn't really want to kneel to my wife'."

His enthusiasm for the character continued into season two when Smith said he saw the duke as a "roguish, brilliant man", adding: "I just found a lot to celebrate in Philip."

"Don't. Be. Ridiculous."

That, according to actor Matt Smith, was apparently the Duke of Edinburgh's terse response when asked whether he had ever watched The Crown.

Smith relayed the anecdote during a 2017 interview with the Guardian, as he reflected on his time playing the duke in the hugely successful Netflix drama.

The series portrays the inner life of Britain's modern-day Royal Family, from the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 to the break-up of Prince Charles's marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, in the early 1990s. The drama is set to continue in a new season in 2022.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith
IMAGE COPYRIGHTNETFLIX
image captionClaire Foy and Matt Smith as the royal couple in their early years
It has been showered with praise for its lavish sets, immense budget, compelling script and accomplished cast, and the awards have followed. More controversial though has been its relationship with the truth.

The royals are notoriously guarded about their private lives.


Even the duke's supposed stinging rebuke when asked whether he had watched the series is a matter of debate.

"Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but I just think he's a bit of a cool cat," said Smith, after relating the second-hand anecdote.

"And that's what I love about him: he's done what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, with whom he wants. He hasn't asked permission. And his wife's the Queen."

Claire Foy and Matt Smith
IMAGE COPYRIGHTNETFLIX
The former Doctor Who star played the dashing, young Philip Mountbatten, who wooed Princess Elizabeth and became her royal consort.

Yet there were, in reality, limits to how much the duke really did what he wanted. Smith's portrayal of Philip takes in many of the compromises the prince was forced to make - giving up his title as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, resigning his career in the navy and, ultimately, swearing allegiance to the Queen.

When Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, Philip is depicted in the show asking her if he can be excused from kneeling to pay homage to her during the ceremony.

Matt Smith and Claire Foy
IMAGE COPYRIGHTNETFLIX
image captionPrince Philip (Matt Smith) knelt before the Queen (Claire Foy) during her 1953 coronation
So what did his role teach Smith about the man himself?

"In this day and age, with all the conversations we're having about being a man and maleness, and what it is to be empowered and respected as a woman - I just found that thrilling," he told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

"And also, I kind of sided with him, which is controversial. I felt, 'Yeah, I wouldn't really want to kneel to my wife'."

His enthusiasm for the character continued into season two when Smith said he saw the duke as a "roguish, brilliant man", adding: "I just found a lot to celebrate in Philip."



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