Royal drama The Crown ‘deeply saddened’ by death of Duke of Edinburgh

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·2-min read

The makers of royal drama The Crown have said they are “deeply saddened” by the news of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Philip was played by Doctor Who star Matt Smith in the first two series of the lavish Netflix series, opposite Claire Foy as the Queen.

Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The Crown
Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The Crown (Alex Bailey/Netflix)

He was replaced by Outlander actor Tobias Menzies for series three and four, opposite Olivia Colman as the Queen.

The first series followed the earlier days of the relationship between the Queen and Philip, while the second series dramatised tensions in the marriage.

Later episodes showed his interest in and passion for space travel.

Tobias Menzies as Philip
Tobias Menzies as Philip (Sophie Mutevelian/Netflix/PA)

A statement from the show, written by Peter Morgan, said: “Netflix, Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television and the production team on The Crown are deeply saddened to hear of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.

“Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time.”

Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce will take over the role of the Duke of Edinburgh for the fifth and six series of the show, which will be the last.

He will star opposite Imelda Staunton as the Queen.

Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce will play the Duke of Edinburgh in the final two series (Ian West/PA)

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has also paid tribute, saying Philip represents a “special” place in its history.

He became the organisation’s first president in 1959, one year after the British Film Academy and the Guild of Television Producers and Directors merged to create the Society of Film and Television Arts, a forerunner of Bafta.

The Duke represented the Society until 1965 and presented awards at ceremonies during this period.

He was also present at the official opening of Bafta’s headquarters in London, after he and the Queen gave their share of the profits from the film Royal Family to the SFTA.

Bafta said Philip was “an important figure in one of the most ambitious overseas initiatives the Academy has ever undertaken”, when he attended the Festival of British Film and Television at the Library of Congress in Washington DC

A statement said: “The Duke occupies a special place in the Academy’s history and will be missed enormously.

“Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy.”

Philip’s grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, is the current president of Bafta.

The Academy is due to hand out its film awards on Saturday and Sunday night in largely virtual ceremonies.