The Crown Is Set To Explore A Salacious Rumor About Prince Philip

The marriage of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth is a big part of the drama in "The Crown." But one aspect of the royal couple's long marriage that is unclear is Philip's fidelity to the queen, and there were rumors about affairs. Royal watchers don't know if Philip's many close friendships with women were concerning for the queen, but the couple stayed married and loved each other for over 70 years.

"The Crown" dances around alleged cheating by the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Netflix drama keeps viewers guessing. In Season 2 of "The Crown," Philip fires private secretary Michael Parker after his wife sues him for divorce due to infidelity. According to The Telegraph, the prince and Parker were best friends for 60 years, but the duke's firing was a pain point for the commander. The outlet reported that the firing was in Parker's 2002 obituary, which read in part, "It was his divorce from Eileen, covered extensively in the press before becoming final in 1958, that forced Parker to resign as the Duke's Private Secretary."

There were reports that Elizabeth was never the same after Philip died, which shows their strong commitment — but in Season 5, "The Crown" is set to explore a salacious rumor about Philip.

The Crown Season 5 features Prince Philip's friend Penny Knatchbull

Queen Elizabeth met Prince Philip when she was 13 and he was 18. It was love at first sight for the future monarch, and the royal couple seemed in love throughout their 70-year marriage. But Season 5 of "The Crown" is set to explore Philip's friendship with Penelope "Penny" Knatchbull, per The Sun. Rumors of an affair between the Duke of Edinburgh and Penelope, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, raged for years. Even though Knatchbull was 32 years younger than Philip, they enjoyed a long friendship that lasted until the duke died in 2021. The Daily Mail reported that Countess Mountbatten was one of just 30 people invited to Philip's funeral, with a royal aide calling Knatchbull the "keeper of secrets" for the duke. As it turns out, the countess was "one of the few friends that Philip continued to see regularly" after he stepped down from as a working royal in 2017. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward further told People that Knatchbull was the "second-most important woman in the Duke of Edinburgh's life."

But Seward told the Mail that Knatchbull was also a friend of the queen, explaining, "The queen had enlisted the help of the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who visited Philip and helped convince him to give up driving," after the stubborn royal got in a car accident in 2019. The Mail's royal journalist Richard Eden called the relationship between the queen and Knatchbull "incredibly close." We'll probably never know the "true" story of Philip's friendship.