‘The Crown’: How Season 5 Is Really Going to Ruffle Some More Feathers

Royals fans have been patiently waiting for information about the upcoming season of Netflix‘s The Crown to drop. Well, we now have our first look at the new actors who will play Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and news of one storyline we didn’t expect to be explored about the late Prince Philip.

Because season 4 of The Crown took us right into the tumultuous years of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage some may have forgotten that there were a lot of things going on with other royals at that time too. The ’90s were also a time when Prince Philip became very close with another woman and The Crown has decided to go there.

Imelda Staunton who plays Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Crown' Season 5 seen on a boat made to look like a royal yacht
Imelda Staunton who plays Queen Elizabeth II in ‘The Crown’ Season 5 seen on a boat made to look like a royal yacht | Peter Summers/Getty Images

‘The Crown’ will explore Prince Philip’s relationship with longtime female friend

The Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9, 2021, had a tight relationship with Penny Brabourne (Countess Mountbatten of Burma). She married Lord Mountbatten’s grandson Norton Knatchbull the 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma and that’s when she and Philip became good friends.

According to The Sun, The Crown is planning to cover the pair’s friendship. Philip will be played by Jonathan Pryce and Natascha McElhone will portray Penny.

“This is a relationship which naturally raised a few eyebrows and sparked quite a few whispers, but Philip and Penny maintained they were just friends,” a source told the publication, adding that “The makers of The Crown believe it is a relationship worthy of exploring and casting a veteran actor like Natascha is a reflection of how high profile the role is… the highly personal relationship is unlikely to be welcomed as a storyline by Her Majesty or the rest of the royal family.”

 Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Brabourne and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show together
Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Brabourne and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show together | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Penny attended Prince Philip’s funeral

Penelope Meredith Mary Eastwood was born in London in 1953. She wed the 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma in 1979 and Prince Charles served as the best man. Up until 2017 she was known as Lady Penny Bradbourne but became Countess Mountbatten after the death of 2nd Countess Patricia Knatchbull.

Prince Philip and Penny bonded over a love for the outdoors and they enjoyed many of the same activities including carriage driving, which he taught her. They dismissed tabloid rumors that suggested they were ever anything other than friends.

Penny is also quite close with Queen Elizabeth II. The countess was one of only 30 people invited to Philip’s funeral and one of only four people, along with the duke’s three German cousins, who are not members of the royal family.

Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma arrives at Windsor Castle to attend the funeral of Prince Philip
Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma arrives at Windsor Castle to attend the funeral of Prince Philip | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

What else we know about season 5 of the Netflix series?

After Season 4 wrapped, a new cast signed on to play the key members of Britain’s most famous family.

In addition to Pryce in the role of the late Prince Philip, Imelda Staunton has taken over for Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret, Dominic West will portray Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki is replacing Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.

When Debicki was cast in 2020 she released a statement about the part (via The Hollywood Reporter) which read: “Princess Diana’s spirit, her words, and her actions live in the hearts of so many. It is my true privilege and honor to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked since episode one.” 

Filming of the series is underway and the new season is set to be released in 2022. Seasons 1 through 4 of The Crown are currently streaming on Netflix.

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