Season 2 of the semi-autobiographical drama The Crown focused on some of the most difficult years in the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Starting with the Suez Crisis in 1956 and continuing through to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964, the second season includes Prince Philip’s affair with a prima ballerina, the breakdown of Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend’s relationship and Margaret’s difficult marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones, and the strained relationship between Elizabeth and Jackie Kennedy. But it was the depiction of Prince Philip’s relationship with son Prince Charles that left the real Queen Elizabeth questioning whether to cancel her Netflix subscription.
Although the Queen was reportedly a fan of the first season of the Emmy-winning series, she was less than thrilled with the depiction of her family in Season 2. According to the UK publication Express, the Queen was especially upset with the ninth episode, which focused on her husband Prince Philip forcing their young son Prince Charles to attend the strict Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland.
In the episode, the Queen and Charles both voice their preference for the nearby Eton College, but are overruled by Philip. Flashbacks to his childhood show the basis of Prince Philip’s love for Gordonstoun, which he attended when his beloved older sister Cecile died in a plane crash, an event that Philip’s father blamed on his young son. Yeah, it was not a great childhood.
“The Queen realises that many who watch The Crown take it as an accurate portrayal of the Royal Family and she cannot change that,” a source close to the Queen told Express. “But I can convey that she was upset by the way Prince Philip is depicted as being a father insensitive to his son’s wellbeing. She was particularly annoyed at a scene in which Philip has no sympathy for a plainly upset Charles while he is flying him home from Scotland. That simply did not happen.”
Prince Charles never found the same feeling of comradery that his father did with his classmates at Gordonstoun, where he was bullied relentlessly. Although the episode ends with a quote by Prince Charles calling the boarding school ‘hell,’ he has said publicly that his hatred for Gordonstoun has been exaggerated. Maybe it has. But it’s worth noting that Charles sent his own sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, to Eton College.