The upcoming fifth season of Netflix’s hit series The Crown looks like it will keep up with the tradition of past seasons by continuing to be a real thorn in the royal family’s side. Despite the fact that some members of the family actually admit to watching it, the series does love to revisit some moments that the monarchy might prefer we all just forget.
So what’s on the itinerary for this latest trip down memory lane? According to the Sun, The Crown plans to highlight the cozy (perhaps a little too cozy?) relationship between Prince Philip and aristocrat Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, in the 1990s. According to the Sun’s “TV insider” source, “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.”
Penny Knatchbull, whose father was a successful businessman, married Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma, in 1979—a union that brought them into the royal family’s orbit. Despite the fact that Prince Philip, who passed away at the age of 99 in April of this year, was 32 years Penny Knatchbull’s senior (and also, obviously, despite the fact that he was married to the literal Queen of England at the time) the two reportedly got very close in the 1990s.
Philip even taught Knatchbull how to drive a carriage, which could be either a totally innocuous pastime or the aristocratic version of sliding into one’s DM—it is unclear to me, a plebeian. Here they are riding cute bikes in 2006:
Actress Natascha McElhone, who previously was on the shows Californication and Designated Survivor, will play Knatchbull in the upcoming season. Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip. Per the source, “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.”
So how much of a firestorm will this cause to the royals? “[T]he highly personal relationship is unlikely to be welcomed as a storyline by Her Majesty or the rest of the Royal Family,” the insider added.
Check out everything we know about the fifth season of The Crown so far.