Matt Smith may be relinquishing his spot beside the throne for the upcoming season of The Crown, but it’s clear that his character, Prince Philip , will always hold a place in his heart – and the hearts of palace staff, apparently! The British actor recently opened up about the royal’s popularity, saying he’s long held the honour of Palace’s Most Popular.
Taking on such an esteemed role is no easy feat, so the 35-year-old had to dig deep and extensive research proved quite interesting and perhaps surprising to those who have been fans of the Royal Family for quite some time. “All the research I did found him to be brilliantly funny, very clever, very popular,” the British actor revealed to Variety. “In the royal house, he’s the most popular of them all. If you’ve talked to any of the staff, Philip’s the one they all love really.” And he’s had quite a while to foster close bonds with staff, having officially married the Queen and moved into the palace way back in 1947.
Anyone knowledgeable in royal history – or anyone who’s at least watched the first two seasons of The Crown – should be familiar with the 93-year-old’s rebellious nature. Matt figures this could have something to do with his likeability around Buckingham Palace! “The royal protocol hasn’t dogged him in quite the same way his whole life and there’s a sort of rebellion in him and a naughtiness and a cheekiness,” the Emmy nominated actor explained. “I think he’s quite affable and open by all accounts with the staff. They all love him.”
While making a TV show depicting such a famous family may be nerve wracking, the Doctor Who star thinks it’s been great for the family – and has an intriguing idea for Meghan Markle, the newly minted Duchess of Sussex. “I think it’s definitely changed the perception of the royal family … And Meghan can play Meghan,” he joked. “One of the interesting challenges for me was that I felt there was a sort of misconception and a preconception about [Philip], which reduced him a bit … He’s a bit more of a man of the people.”
Well, Prince Philip can count one more on his list of fans, but perhaps not the other way around. Matt shared that his friend, while at a dinner party, asked Philip if he watches the show. The royal simply responded: “Don’t be ridiculous.”