Matt Smith plays Prince Philip in new Netflix drama The Crown and says the experience has given him a new appreciation of the royal family
Rumours of a romance between Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle echo the media frenzy that surrounded royal romances in the lavish new Netflix drama The Crown, star Matt Smith has said.
The Doctor Who actor, who plays the Duke of Edinburgh in the costume drama, said the show demonstrates how many aspects of royal life remain the same.
Comparing interest in the relationship between Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorcee, with interest in Harry’s private life, he told the Press Association: “I think that is an interesting point about the whole series – that whatever political problem or social problem or life problem or family problem they had then, we sort of have now anyway.
“I love Harry, I think he is amazing, I kind of want Harry to be king.”
Harry has been an eligible bachelor since he split from long-term girlfriend Cressida Bonas more than two years ago.
He has recently been linked with Meghan – a star of hit US TV show Suits – with the pair spotted wearing the same bracelet.
Matt added: “I just really like Harry and I really like Margaret. But the point is, and that is the thing with Margaret as well, if she had been given the task of being Queen she wouldn’t be as free and special as she is, she would have been a different person.”
The show begins before the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip and follows life inside both Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street up until the eve of the Suez crisis.
Written by Peter Morgan, it is based on his stage play The Audience, which imagined encounters between the Queen, played through the ages by Dame Helen Mirren, and her different prime ministers.
Peter is also responsible for The Queen, the film that imagined the royal in the days after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and that earned Dame Helen an Oscar.
Matt’s portrayal of Philip follows his transition from dashing young naval officer to Queen’s companion and the actor said he wanted to give as truthful a portrayal of him as possible – down to showing his bare bottom in a scene when King George VI finds him sleeping naked.
Matt said: “They have all got a bottom, in some state someone has seen it.
“I’m going to argue the case now. At the time we filmed it I was like ‘yeah all right, fine’, but seeing it in context it does work, it’s a good thing for the king and him to have that moment.”
Wolf Hall star Claire Foy, who plays the Queen, added: “Philip is known to sleep naked and it’s one of those things of whether it informs your knowledge of the character.
“It makes him more renegade and sexy and exciting as opposed to me wearing slippers and a full-on nightie up to my neck, it says something important about the character, it’s not just his bum.”
The show cost a reported £100 million and features lavish sets, with scenes recreating events in Westminster Abbey filmed on location at Ely Cathedral.
The entire series of The Crown will be released on Netflix in the UK on November 4