The new series of The Crown paints an unflattering portrait of Prince Philip as an oversexed adulterer – just days after he celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary to Queen Elizabeth.
The Duke of Edinburgh, played by Matt Smith, is seen being tempted by Jackie Kennedy as she flirts with him during her visit to Buckingham Palace in 1961.
Meanwhile Elizabeth’s suspicions of infidelity are aroused after she finds a picture of a dancer in his bag – believed to represent Pat Kirkwood, the real-life dancer he was once linked to.
The Netflix show also suggests he was romantically involved with women on a 1956-7 tour of Commonwealth countries without his wife, aboard the HMY Britannia.
The new series of The Crown documents a visit to Buckingham Palace in 1961 from Jackie Kennedy that sent the Queen into a jealous fury with her husband, Prince Philip
There he meets the women of Papua New Guinea and Tonga, with his private secretary writing: ‘Nowhere on earth have we seen such beautiful women.
‘We tear ourselves away, each of us not a little bit, but very much in love.’
At the heart of the spectacular new series of the Netflix-original drama, which chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth, lies a visit from Jackie Kennedy that allegedly sent the Queen into a jealous fury with her husband.
The scene re-imagines the night that the royal couple, who are celebrating 70 years of marriage this year, hosted the Kennedys at Buckingham Palace in 1961.
According to The Telegraph, the scene sees the Duke of Edinburgh tell the Queen that Jackie has asked him to give her a tour of their home. In response to her husband’s remark, the Queen sharply replies: ‘It’s my house so I’ll do it.’
While the guests at the banquet are making small talk, and the Queen sits a few feet away, the Prince, played by Matt Smith, is engaged in some serious flirting. He turns to Jackie and, eyes twinkling, asks: ‘So, what star sign are you?’
The Queen then hears rumours from her equerry, Lord Plunkett, that Jackie has been speaking ill of her behind her back.
Lord Plunkett claims that Jackie dubbed her ‘a middle-aged woman so incurious, unintelligent and unremarkable that Britain’s new reduced place in the world was not a surprise but an inevitability.’
The Netflix drama, which launched last year, deals with the ongoing struggles of the Queen (Claire Foy) to reconcile her public and private selves and sees the tension between her and Jackie Kennedy unfold
The scene sees the Duke of Edinburgh tell the Queen that Jackie has asked him to give her a tour of their home, which leaves her jealous
In the scene, which was imagined by writer Peter Morgan, Lord Plunkett explains that Jackie also describes Buckingham Palace as ‘second rate, dilapidated and sad, like a neglected provincial hotel.’
The comments leave the Queen with tears in her eyes but in a steely manner, she adds: ‘Well, we must have her again soon.’
As The Telegraph notes, in reality, Cecil Beaton did write in his diary how Mrs Kennedy had spoken poorly of the Queen and her home.
Cecil wrote that the First Lady was underwhelmed by Buckingham Palace’s interior design, as well as the Queen’s style.
The relationship between the Queen and First Lady gets off on the wrong foot, even before they meet
There were other reports at the time, including one from writer Gore Vidal, that Mrs Kennedy described the Queen as ‘heavy going’ and felt ‘resented’ by her.
Later scenes show the First Lady requesting a private audience with the Queen after she discovers she’s found out about the backhanded comments. She blames the drugs she was prescribed by her doctor and calls her comments ‘foolish’.
The show claims that the Queen’s visit to Ghana in November 1961, which was hailed as a triumph, was a way of proving Mrs Kennedy and her ‘foolish’ comments wrong.
When JFK is assassinated, we see the Queen reach out to Jackie. Caroline Kennedy (centre), daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy (left), wipes a tear from her eye at a ceremony dedicating a memorial to her father. Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II sit in front of her
The Netflix drama, which launched last year, deals with the ongoing struggles of the Queen (Claire Foy) to reconcile her public and private selves. And while it has been showered with critical praise, it has also stirred up much controversy, by reigniting rumours of Prince Philip’s supposed roving eye.
The trailer for the new season sees the Queen say: ‘I have learnt more about humiliation in the past few weeks than I hoped I would in a lifetime,’ and according to the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, season two features ‘a lot more’ of the suggestion that her husband was sometimes distracted.
Certainly it does nothing to dispel the reputation of the Prince as a seasoned flirt – with Balfour’s Jackie Kennedy playing a pivotal, and receptive, role.
‘The Queen and Jackie don’t get off to a good start in the series because of Philip,’ Balfour told Event magazine. ‘The Prince is just a flirt [with her] and I don’t think there’s any intention behind it, but he’s going through a phase of liking a lot of women, as is [her husband] JFK.’
The scene takes place in episode eight of the new ten-part season, which covers the three-year period between the election of President Kennedy (Dexter’s Michael C Hall) and his assassination in 1963, and centres on the Kennedys’ visit to Buckingham Palace in June 1961.
The second series of The Crown will be available to watch from December 8 on Netflix.
THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST LADY: A COMPLEX FRIENDSHIP… by Lina Das
The relationship between the Queen and First Lady gets off on the wrong foot, even before they meet: Jackie wants her sister, the twice-married Lee Radziwill, to attend the dinner despite divorcees not traditionally being invited and the Queen, under pressure, relents. ‘Jackie really wasn’t happy with how things were unfolding,’ says Balfour, ‘and probably there’s a little bit of revenge flirting with Philip there.’
The Queen, according to the series, is already feeling somewhat unsure of herself. ‘It’s the Sixties and although she’s only 35, she’s already starting to feel middle-aged when these two glamorous rock stars from America show up,’ says Balfour – a situation that is not entirely helped by the Prince.
‘He has a lot of fun with the idea that Jackie’s coming to the palace and that scratches an already painful wound for the Queen. So the Queen isn’t all that determined to become Jackie’s friend. Added to that, Jackie enjoys the attention she’s getting from the Prince, as she’s not been getting it from her husband.
She inadvertently steals his limelight on the visit, which causes tension between them and mirrors the tension between the Queen and Philip.’ But then, a shift starts to occur. When Jackie asks Philip to show her the palace, the Queen swiftly intervenes and it is while the two women tour the grounds that they start to form a surprising bond.
‘They were both introverts cast into these extrovert, public roles,’ says Balfour, ‘and they were both married to alpha males. This surprising moment of kinship develops when the Queen asks Jackie how she finds respite from the expectations and constant public examination, and Jackie says she spends time at their farm [in Virginia].
Both women love animals and nature so they get talking about that and find some common ground. When JFK is assassinated, we see the Queen reach out to Jackie and it shows her depth of compassion.’