While The Crown is a Netflix series based on the actual life of Queen Elizabeth II, this article might reveal some spoilers if you haven’t watched the full series.
If it seemed as though the new Netflix series The Crown is the right medicine for the Downton Abbey flu, well that would make sense because there is some interesting overlap that is not immediately evident. As we see flashbacks of Queen Elizabeth’s childhood and perhaps her grandest hobby, her horses, we meet a man from her past who is the link to Downton Abbey.
The Crown is not just providing people with entertainment, but also with a history lesson that many have missed about the abdication of King Edward VIII, says the Inquisitr. King Edward, known to his family as David, was the playboy king who gave up the throne to marry the love of his life, Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American woman who was already twice divorced. While The Crown doesn’t cover the abdication, it deals with the aftermath, which shows Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with the uncle whose choices set her reign in motion.
Almost at the end of Season 1 of The Crown, we meet a new character in the Queen Elizabeth saga, Lord Carnarvon, or “Porchie,” who is the queen’s racing manager in charge of her stables according to Vanity Fair. Porchie is short for Porchester, as in Lord Porchester, which is what he was before inheriting his father’s title, Lord Carnarvon.
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It seems Porchie had a thing for Elizabeth back when she was Princess Elizabeth, but she only had eyes for Philip. Queen Elizabeth tells Prince Philip, when he shows some jealousy for the bond that she and Porchie share, that Porchie is family and has been around so long he is “part of the furniture.” Prince Philip responds that it’s fine, as long as she doesn’t sit on him.
The Crown does not suggest that Queen Elizabeth actually had an affair with Porchie, but they do hint at some chemistry, and they more than hint that it bothers Prince Philip, who was nobody’s first choice for the husband of the heir to the throne.
“I have nothing to hide from you. Nothing. Porchie is a friend, and yes, there are those who would have preferred me to marry him. Indeed, marriage with him might have been easier, might have even worked better than ours.”
But in response to what is perhaps Prince Philip’s deflection about his own infidelity (we often see a drunken, partying Philip, rolling in and out of English convertible sports cars), Queen Elizabeth gets quite frank with the prince.
“But to everyone’s regret and frustration, the only person I have ever loved is you. And can you honestly look me in the eye and say the same?”
Which leads to why Porchie was preferred and how The Crown and Downton Abbey have something in common. Though Philip was a prince, he had a rough upbringing for a royal, as his father was nearly executed, and the family was driven out of Greece and virtually homeless for much of Philip’s life, until he was taken in by his uncle, Lord Mountbatten (“call me Dickie”), and dropped his own very German sounding surname for Uncle Dickie’s name, Mountbatten (a reworking of his mother’s family name, Battenberg).
Porchie, on the other hand, was born Henry George Reginald Molyneux Herbert, the son of the sixth Earl. Porchie was schooled at Eton, and a serving member of the Royal Horse Guards during World War II. Porchie had all of the bells and whistles, plus the cute WASPy nickname. But here is where the Downton Abbey thing kicks in: Porchie was born at Highclere Castle, which is the estate known as Downton Abbey, the home of Lord Grantham and family in the ITV/PBS series of the same name. Highclere is Porchie’s ancestral family home.
As a child, Princess Elizabeth spent time at Highclere Castle as a guest of the Carnarvon family, which is one reason that Queen Elizabeth loved Downton Abbey.
“She loves watching Downton Abbey and pointing out things they have got wrong, partly because she is familiar with Highclere Castle, where it is filmed.”
And that is the far less than six degrees of separation for the English aristocracy.
Are you surprised to see how the worlds of The Crown and Downton Abbey collide?
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