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“The Crown” star Matt Smith is sharing his interactions with the British royals and claims he once heard Queen Elizabeth II used to watch the hit TV show.
During a recent appearance on “Today,” Smith opened up about the time he met the future King Charles III and Prince Harry. While he only managed to compliment the king on his shoes, he met Harry at a polo match and got confirmation that he was a fan of the show.
“I met Harry once at the polo, which sounds a bit grand, but it wasn’t that grand. And he walked up to me and he went, ‘Grandad,’ because he watched the show,” Smith recalled. “I can’t claim to know if he watches it currently, but he watched a bit of it then.”
Smith also shared that he has “heard the queen had watched it” and that she used to dedicate her Sunday nights to watching the Netflix show on a projector.
For the first two seasons of “The Crown,” Smith played the younger version of The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. He played the real-life character from the time he and the queen were married in 1947 to her coronation in 1953 to the birth of Prince Edward in 1963.
The role then was passed on to Tobias Menzies, who played Prince Philip throughout season 3 and 4, which covered events from 1964 to the early 1990s.
It seems the real-life inspiration behind the character wasn’t too happy with the idea of his family’s history playing out on a television show. A friend of Smith’s encountered Prince Philip at an event and couldn’t help but ask him what he thought of the show.
“A friend of mine sat next to him at [a] dinner once, and he asked him. Actually, I think Philip asked my friend if he made ‘The Crown,’” he said. “The first course came out, and then the second course came out, and then the third course came out, 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 he apparently turned around and went, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’”
During an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in February, Prince Harry opened up about what his thoughts were about the Netflix show, saying it provides fans with “a rough idea of what that lifestyle” is like and what it means to put “duty and service above family and everything else.”
“I’m way more comfortable with ‘The Crown’ than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife [Meghan Markle] or myself because it’s the difference between [‘The Crown’] is obviously fiction. Take it how you will, but this is being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that,” Harry said on the show.
After the Queen’s death, “The Crown” paused production on season 6 out of respect for the monarch and her many years of duty and service.
Ahead of the pause in production, creator Peter Morgan opened up to Deadline about the purpose, saying it was to show love for the queen.
“’The Crown’ is a love letter to her, and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect,” Morgan said. “I expect we will stop filming out of respect too.”
Smith also opened up about his own feelings toward the loss of the queen, saying he wanted to return to London after her passing to pay his respects and celebrate her life in his own way.
“I think it’s a piece of history. I don’t think we’ll ever have a monarch that serves for 70 years again,” he said. “She saw 13 prime ministers come and go, like 14 presidents, or something like that. I just want to be in London, I want to experience it. I want to share in the ceremony of it really.”
He explained that, while his mother will be attending the procession in person, he noted he wasn’t sure whether he will be there, saying he might just end up watching it on TV at a pub with some of his friends.