The Crown Actor Matt Smith Once Met King Charles And Prince Harry

Actor Matt Smith has played some iconic roles thus far in his career, from The Doctor in the long-running British series "Doctor Who" to Daemon Targaryen in HBO's "House of the Dragon." But perhaps among his most challenging roles was to portray a real person with dignity and correctness to the man's well-known character and persona: the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

Smith played the younger version of the husband of Queen Elizabeth II on the hit Netflix historical drama "The Crown," and many reviewers agreed that he did a stellar job in his performance. Screen Rant says of his portrayal that Smith "was an utterly perfect casting choice for the young Philip. With a single glance, the actor conveys an overwhelming array of emotions, with anger at the very center."

Smith played Prince Philip throughout the first two seasons of "The Crown," which focused on the earlier years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. But playing a real person, let alone a person as famous as Prince Philip, can be controversial, especially when members of the family you're portraying are watching your performance themselves.   

When Harry met Matt

On an episode of the "Today Show" in 2022, Matt Smith was discussing his role on "The Crown" with host Savannah Guthrie, and his interactions with members of the actual royal family became the topic of conversation (via Variety). Smith told Guthrie of his first time meeting Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, saying, "I met Harry once, at polo, which sounds a bit grand, but it wasn't that grand." He went on to detail the interaction, saying, "And he walked up to me and went, 'Granddad.'"

Bowled over by the positive reception from Harry, Smith was proud to learn that not only wasn't Harry upset or bothered by Smith's portrayal of his grandfather, but he actually watched she show with some regularity at the time. "He watched the show!" Smith exclaimed to Guthrie. Then he clarified, "Well, I can't claim to know if he watches it currently, but he watched a bit of it then."

Smith also shared that at one time, when he was working on the show "Doctor Who," he had met the then-Prince Charles (via People). "I met the now King Charles," Smith told the hosts of "Today." He went on to reveal what they discussed, saying, "I told him that I thought he had fabulous shoes, which he told me he had them for 30 years," he said. "They were like red brogues, they were beautiful."

How Prince Philip felt about Smith's performance

While Prince Harry seemed not to be offended by Smith's portrayal of Prince Philip, Prince Philip himself seemed not to be impressed with either Smith or the entirety of "The Crown" itself (via People). In the same interview on "Today," Smith recalled a story a friend of his once told him after that friend met Prince Philip and had the courage to ask him what he thought of the Netflix series. 

"A friend of mine sat next to him at a dinner once and I think Philip asked my friend if he made The Crown," Smith told the co-hosts. He went on to recount, " ... and my friend couldn't resist by the end of the meal he was like, 'Philip I have to ask, have you watched The Crown?' and apparently he turned round to him and went, 'Don't be ridiculous.'"

Smith, however, was not remotely offended by Philip's feelings about the show. On the contrary, Smith made it clear that he has always had the utmost respect for the real-life Prince Philip, for the way he helped to rule the United Kingdom, and even for his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II "I found him to be a real modernizer," Smith said of Prince Philip. "He was really interesting and I kind of fell in love with Philip really," he admitted. "He was great and he loved her, he really made her laugh, they were a fabulous couple together."