The Crown branded 'distasteful' over Prince Philip plotline

It involves an alleged affair.

Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Brabourne and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 12, 2007 in Windsor, England.
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 12: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Brabourne and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 12, 2007 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Royal Family has never publicly expressed how they feel about Netflix series The Crown. While Matt Smith once revealed that Prince Philip wasn't a fan, Queen Consort Camilla is said to have a good sense of humour about it.

The show has proven controversial in more ways than one ever since it hit screens in 2016, with the depiction of then-Prince Charles' affair with Camilla while both were married to their previous spouses proving especially incendiary.

Now, it's another alleged royal affair that's provoking anger among commentators, including royal expert Dickie Arbiter: the rumour that linked the late Prince Philip to family friend Penelope "Penny" Knatchbull.

It was reported in 2021 that The Crown's upcoming season would include a Philip/Penny plot line, and predictions were made at the time that those in royal circles would not be too pleased about it, to put it mildly.

With season 5 set for release in November 2022, Dickie has commented in no uncertain terms on the storyline, which he called "very distasteful and quite frankly, cruel rubbish" (via Express).

"The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family."

The royal expert added: "Netflix are not interested in people’s feelings."

He also felt that the timing of this new season was off, seeing as it will air "just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip."

Production on The Crown season 6 was paused as a mark of respect to the late Queen on the day following her passing, as well as on the day of her funeral, but it seems a delayed release date was never on the cards.

A friend of King Charles' recently echoed Dickie's comments, saying that Netflix has "no qualms about mangling people’s reputations," adding: "What people forget is that there are real human beings and real lives at the heart of this."

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.