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10th Oct 2022

The Crown to show Prince Philip ‘pursuing affair’ just weeks after Queen’s death in ‘cruel’ blow to Royals

Steve Hopkins

The storyline adds to anger over The Crown re-enacting Princess Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir

Netflix show The Crown is ruffling royal feathers yet again and has been branded “cruel”, this time amid claims that the fifth series debut will see Prince Philip pursuing an affair – just weeks after the Queen’s death.

Controversy has surrounded the award-winning show, based on the lives of the Royal family, with the streaming service already going against Prince William‘s wishes by re-enacting his mother, Princess Diana’s bombshell 1995 interview with BBC journalist, Martin Bashir.

Now, reports suggest the new season will feature Prince Philip in intimate scenes alongside close friend Penny Knatchbull, 69, who is now the Countess Mountbatten of Burma. The Duke of Edinburgh passed away in April 2021.

The Queen’s former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, labelled the storyline “cruel rubbish” that will  “hurt people’s feelings”.

According to TV insiders, the pair are seen touching hands as Philip complains about his marriage to Queen Elizabeth.

Although Netflix bosses had considered postponing the release of the fifth series, it is set to be aired on November 9 – just two months after Queen Elizabeth passed away at Balmoral, aged 96.

Royal experts have suggested showing intimate scenes between Philip and Penny is an immensely “cruel” move from Netflix so soon after the Queen’s passing.

Arbiter told The Sun:“Coming just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip, this is very distasteful and, quite frankly, cruel rubbish. The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family. Netflix are not interested in people’s feelings.”

He added: “This is fiction. There’s no way in a million years he’d discuss his marriage with anybody. The royals probably won’t watch it for their own sanity.”

News of the storyline comes after The Crown was criticised for re-enacting Princess Diana’s explosive Panorama interview against her son’s wishes. The interview has been controversial for almost 30 years.

The new series is set to air an entire episode focusing on the royal’s controversial tell-all chat in 1995, said to have cost millions to film.

Series 5 opens in 1991, and a key storyline is the crumbling relationship between Charles, played by Dominic West, and Diana, played by actress Elizabeth Debicki.

Netflix, which cast Prasanna Puwanarajah in the role of Bashir, will show how the reporter persuaded Diana to speak to him by playing on her paranoia.

William earlier hit out at Netflix over the storyline, saying the interview holds “no legitimacy” after a report found that Bashir used specific tactics to gain his mother’s trust.

“This Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again,” he said.

“It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.”

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