Prince Philip tried to sue The Crown over comments blaming him for the death of his sister, royal expert reveals

The episode reportedly left him ‘very upset’

Prince Phillip in The Crown
(Image credit: Mark Mainz / Netflix and Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images/Future)

A royal expert has revealed that an episode in season 2 of Netflix's The Crown left Prince Philip 'very upset' and wanting to sue to the show.

While viewers understand that Netflix's The Crown is not a completely true portrayal of real life, with storylines being exaggerated for dramatic effect, this blurring between truth and historic fact has led to many controversies and upsets. 

A royal expert has now revealed that the late Prince Philip consulted his lawyers after an episode from season 2 of the hit show blamed him for the shocking and tragic death of his sister, Princess Cecilie. The Prince also allegedly was left deeply “upset” over the depiction of his sister's death in a plane crash.

Prince Philip

(Image credit: Matt Dunham - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Hugo Vickers, a royal historian and author, said, “I know Prince Philip consulted his lawyer about it, to ask ‘What can I do about it?’

"He was very upset about the way that was portrayed. He was human. He could be hurt like anybody else.”

In November 1937, Princess Cecilie, then aged 26, had given birth mid-flight, but unfortunately, shortly after the ordeal, her plane crashed into a factory tower in Belgium. Her body, alongside that of her baby's, her husband's and two young sons', were found in the wreckage near Ostend.

Season 2 of The Crown suggested that Princess Cecilie was on board the life-changing flight to England in order to see her brother, Prince Philip then aged 16, after he had been prohibited from visiting her in Germany due to poor behaviour in school.

Adding to the already misplaced, blame-creating scene, The Crown then dramatised Cecilie’s funeral and showed Phillip and Cecilie's father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, say, “I’m surprised he [Prince Philip] dare show himself here.

"Had it not been for Philip and his indiscipline she would never have taken that flight. It’s true, isn’t it boy? You’re the reason we’re all here burying my favourite child. Get him out of here.”

Prince Philip in The Crown

(Image credit: Robert Viglasky / Netflix)

The imagined scenes were first broadcast in 2017 and did not have a fictional disclaimer.

When the episode first aired, royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith urged Netflix to apologise to the royal family over the scene. Speaking to The Daily Mail, she said “[Prince Philip] had nothing to do with his sister’s death… Cecilie did die in an air crash but that’s the only thing that was true. Everything else was invented in a shockingly malicious way.” 

According to one of the Prince's closest friends, the storyline left Prince Philip "so upset." He also contacted lawyers at the Farrer & Co practice over the scenes, according to the Sunday Times, but did not pursue any action.

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News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.