Matt Smith: ‘It was a challenge to play popular Prince Philip’


Matt Smith found it a challenge to portray Prince Philip on The Crown, because the Duke of Edinburgh is the most popular member of the royal household.

The former Doctor Who star approached the role with the idea Philip wasn’t well-liked, but quickly realised he, like many others, had The Queen’s husband all wrong.

“One of the interesting challenges for me was that I felt there was a sort of a misconception and a preconception about him, which reduced him a bit,” Matt tells Variety, “and actually all the research I did found him to be brilliantly funny, very clever, very popular.

“In the royal house he’s the most popular of all of them. If you’ve talked to any of the staff, Philip’s the one they all love, really. I think more than a lot of them, he’s a bit more of a man of the people.

“The royal protocol hasn’t dogged him in quite the same way his whole life and there’s a sort of rebellion in him and a naughtiness and a cheekiness. I think he’s quite affable and open by all accounts with the staff. They all love him.”

Matt handed over the job of portraying Philip in seasons three and four of the hit Netflix show to Tobias Menzies over the summer (18), and on Tuesday (28Aug18), the producers of The Crown unveiled a first look at the new Prince.

In the new image, the Outlander actor is depicted wearing a black suit adorned with a number of medals.

Menzies joins Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter, who have replaced Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby as The Queen and Princess Margaret, respectively, for the next two seasons of the drama series.