Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth have been the figure heads of the British monarchy for nearly seven decades. They weathered countless political storms over the years and probably weren’t too surprised that their lives were getting the royal (Hollywood) treatment with the hit series The Crown. But after Prince Philip’s death on Friday at the age of 99 from undisclosed causes, the two actors who portrayed the aristocrat (Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies) on the show were able to honor the late prince in their own ways.
The Crown has been heralded since its premiere as a stylish and poignant depiction of what may or may not go on behind closed royal doors. In its first two seasons, Matt Smith portrayed the late Prince Philip as a young man, who fans of the show might have described as somewhat of a brat, but who also was tempered by moments of vulnerability and the gravity of huge stakes. Smith earned an Emmy nomination for his on-screen persona but took the time now to honor the real-life man he portrayed. He said to EW in his typical wry humor:
I'd like to offer my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family. Prince Philip was the man. 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 Doctor Who actor’s tribute to Prince Philip is a touching one, indeed. It is often hard to separate a prominent figure from their public persona and, even more so, from how Hollywood decides to tell their story. Judging from Matt Smith’s statement, though, it wasn’t and isn’t too hard for him to see him as a human, too.
During Seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown, the timeline of the royal family jumped considerably, almost a decade, prompting Netflix to bring in Tobias Menzies to take on the role of Prince Philip. The actor, who became well-recognized after his turns on Outlander and Games of Thrones, also decided to honor the late royal prince – albeit mostly with a little Shakespeare. See his tweet below:
Though Prince Philip’s condition was reportedly very poor after being hospitalized earlier this year, his death was still shocking news to many fans of the show and staunch royalists alike. The Crown is currently in production for its fifth season, which will most likely stay within the timeline of the 1990s to early 2000s, at the latest. It is unclear whether or not the Netflix show will attempt to tackle Prince Philip’s death in the later seasons.
There’s nothing quite as British as Shakespeare, except that of a royal prince. And if Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies’ tributes are any indication, it’s that the show about his life and the actors involved took the time to see through the persona and into Prince Philip’s humanity.