Any couple that spends more than seven decades together is going to run into issues from time to time — and that includes Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The British royals celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last month. And this month, fans of the Netflix drama The Crown will get a deeper (fictionalized) look into the early, sometimes rocky, years of the monarchs’ marriage, with an emphasis on the rocky part. Though the long-married pair has apparently worked through their marital challenges, it appears some of The Crown‘s Season 2 drama does have roots in reality.
Some context: The queen met her prince, a distant cousin, at a family wedding when the two were only children.
They started their romantic relationship in their teenage years and married when Elizabeth was 21 (her parents weren’t crazy about Philip’s Greek and German heritage or his “blunt, seagoing manners” and insisted the two wait to be wed). Biographers and sources have claimed some tension sparked when Elizabeth was crowned queen at only 25 and Philip gave up his career in the navy. The Crown plays up these frustrations and resentments — like the fact that Philip was required to walk behind his wife, and the fact that their children would not be given his last name — this season and suggests the frustrations may have gone further.
A lot has been reported over the years about Philip possibly being unfaithful to Elizabeth.
Aside from stories about Philip and his male friends meeting regularly for an allegedly raucous “lunch club,” rumors have circulated that the prince had inappropriate friendships, and even outright affairs, with a number of women. At one point, a British documentary said, the queen was advised to send Philip on a trip overseas to keep him out of trouble. The royals, not surprisingly, never officially commented on these claims, but one biographer did quote Philip as saying, “How could I? I’ve had a detective in my company, night and day, since 1947.”
Obviously, only the royal couple and those close to them know what really goes on behind palace doors. And seeing as at least some of their inner circle have watched and enjoyed The Crown (there’s no word on whether Elizabeth and Philip themselves have binged the show), they’d probably be the best ones to tell us whether Netflix gets it right.