Downton Abbey Creator Calls Out The Crown For Its “Unfair” Portrayal Of Prince Philip


For someone with vast amounts of experience in British aristocracy, Julian Fellowes isn’t all that fussed on The Crown.

Fellowes, best known as the creator and long-time showrunner of Downton Abbey, TV’s other buzzworthy period drama prior to 2016, spoke candidly about The Crown during his appearance on Katie Couric’s entertainment podcast (h/t Vulture).

Asked if he’s a fan of the über popular Netflix original series, Fellowes began by showering praise on the ways in which The Crown chronicles the life and legacy of the British Royal Family. But he does have one issue with the show – its “unfair” portrayal of Prince Philip.

It was very well done, it was beautifully acted, beautifully written. For me, I’m not completely comfortable with dramatizing people who are still alive and still living their lives because I think it’s possible to be unfair. And in the second series, I didn’t think it was fair to Prince Philip, to the Duke of Edinburgh, based on very little.

The Crown Netflix

Fellowes’ criticism can be traced back to The Crown season 2, which shone a fairly intense spotlight on Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth and their increasingly unhappy marriage. The former is said to have engaged in an affair with a ballerina, and while these allegations have been in the public sphere for decades, Julian Fellowes is of the belief that Netflix’s premier regal drama took the liberty of playing fast and loose with rumors.

I think that a lot of it was based on, obviously, very good research, but some of it was not. Some of it was extrapolation from a rumor or someone’s rather prejudiced account. And then it was presented as fact, and I’m not sure that’s just. I think when people are still alive, living their lives, doing a good job and popular and loved, do they deserve it? And in that sense, I’m not sure they do.

The Crown‘s third season has already recruited most, if not all of its core cast, which tells us that the Netflix original series ought to be back on our screens sometime next year. As always, watch this space for more.