Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and longtime husband to Queen Elizabeth II, died today at age 99 having had his image transformed by the Netflix series. "Since 2016, the hit show has taken viewers inside the British royal family, showing it in all its glittering — and frequently grubby — glory," says Alex Marshall. "And for Prince Philip, it’s fair to say the show transformed his image, at least in Britain. For most younger people here, Prince Philip has long been known as simply a liability, an old man prone to gaffes, often racist ones. But in The Crown, Matt Smith, the British actor, showed a far more vital and complex man who’d played a key role in modernizing some aspects of royal life even as he snarled at its constraints. In the show’s first seasons, covering the 1940s to 1960s, Smith portrayed Prince Philip as 'a castrated alpha male,' Tim Lewis wrote in The Guardian, who frequently came across as a 'whining, childish husband,' Mike Hale wrote in The New York Times. For the last two seasons, which bring the story up to the 1980s, Tobias Menzies took over the role, and transformed Prince Philip again. Menzies’ Philip is a man growing into middle age and seeing the absurdity of the trappings of royalty, even as he remains committed to the institution and its traditions. In the most recent season, Prince Philip was also pivotal in convincing Prince Charles, his son, to marry Diana Spencer."
Tobias Menzies pays tribute to Prince Philip: "If I know anything about the Duke of Edinburgh I'm fairly sure he wouldn't want an actor who has portrayed him on television giving their opinion on his life, so I'll leave it to Shakespeare," Menzies said in a statement. Menzies then quoted a line from the play As You Like It: “O good old man! How well in thee appears. The constant service of the antique world." Menzies added: “Rest in Peace." (Menzies later tweeted out the statement, which co-star Josh O'Connor responded with a heart emoji.)
Matt Smith thanks Prince Philip for his service: "I’d like to offer my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family. Prince Philip was the man," he said in a statement. "And he knew it. 99 and out, but what an innings. And what style. Thank you for your service old chap - it won’t be the same without you."
The Season 3 Crown episode "Moondust" captures Prince Philip perfectly: "Most of the hour has Philip parked in front of the TV obsessively watching coverage of the 1969 moon landing. There are no abdications, extra-marital affairs or terrorist bombings — only a middle-aged man’s muted mid-life crisis," says Johnny Oleksinski. "When Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins visit the palace for a private audience with Philip, he makes an emotional admission to the famous strangers...Enamored by Buckingham Palace’s opulence, the astronauts see the situation in reverse. It’s Philip who’s done well in life. His underwhelming heroes are more interested in him than landing on the moon. The trio comes off looking a tad dumb, but they drive home that Philip has done well at his job, such as it is."