As the outspoken Price Philip, actor Matt Smith serves up the bulk of the family drama that makes Netflix’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II’s early years so addictive. The show’s latest instalment covers affair allegations, political power shifts, and a visit by some famous Americans. Through it all, Smith’s performance ensures he’ll make a graceful transition from monarch to Hollywood royal.
What’s your own take on Prince Philip?
Everyone’s always thought, “Oh, this odd fool who likes to say the wrong thing.” He certainly does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. There’s virtue in that, but he does make mistakes. Philip battles between his duty to his wife, and his duty to himself. Any man can relate to that on some level.
The Kennedys are introduced this season. How does that play out?
The dynamics are quite humorous. Philip is totally taken aback by Jackie — essentially, he’s fighting to sit next to her at dinner.
The Crown is recasting for a season 3 time jump. You also handed off Dr. Who to another actor. What’s that like?
They’re both parts that I’m proud to have played. It’s difficult to let things go, but I’m glad to have been involved with projects that have an interesting take on telling a story over a long period of time.
After two years of portraying England’s past, how do you feel about its future?
Well, I don’t see Brexit as the best thing, but the monarchy will remain. It’s fascinating to see the Queen endure so many shifts and remain impartial. That’s a great skill, and a credit to her.
Have you finished the show carrying yourself more like a royal?
On set, we had a consultant, Major David, who was our expert on all things royal. He taught me that the royal family doesn’t say ‘cheers.’ There are so many protocols. Luckily, Philip likes to deflect.
Do you follow Meghan Markle news?
Oh, sure. Not closely, but it would be nice for Harry to meet someone. Everyone wants that in the U.K.