Penny Knatchbull & Prince Philip Relationship: What Is the Real Story?

penny knatchbull

Getty Penny Knatchbull and Prince Philip.

The relationship between Penny Knatchbull and Prince Philip is causing controversy due to the new season of “The Crown.”

Their friendship will be featured in the fifth season of “The Crown” on Netflix. Her full name and title are Penelope, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Philip, of course, was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Season 5 of “The Crown” starts streaming on November 9, 2022, according to Netflix. Jonathan Pryce and Natascha McElhone recreate the relationship between Knatchbull and Philip in “The Crown.”

Speculation generated by “The Crown” that Knatchbull had an affair with the Duke of Edinburgh is just that; there is no proof of a romantic or sexual entanglement. However, there is no question that Knatchbull and Philip were very close. She was dubbed “and also” because she was so often included in Royal events, according to Express.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Knatchbull Is Married to the Grandson of Philip’s Beloved Uncle, Lord Mountbatten, Who Was Murdered by the IRA

Getty20th October 1979: The grandson of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Lord Romsey, marries Penelope Eastwood at Romsey Abbey. The event being dubbed the ‘Wedding of the Year’ with over 900 guests in attendance from almost all of Europe’s leading families.

According to The Sun, Knatchbull, otherwise known as Countess Mountbatten is married to Norton Knatchbull, the Earl Mountbatten.

Earl Mountbatten is a relative of Prince Philip’s uncle, the first Earl Mountbatten, to whom Philip was exceptionally close. Express describes Norton as the son of Philip’s first cousin.
According to Express, Norton had an affair that became public, and Penny ordered him to stay in a converted barn, although she took him back.

The relationship between the First Lord Mountbatten and Philip featured prominently in a previous season of “The Crown.”

Also called Uncle Dickie, his real name was Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, or simply Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten. The earlier season of the popular show showed that Mountbatten was especially close to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He was also shown forging a close relationship with Prince Charles, as mentor and father figure.

In the first episode of season 4, Lord Mountbatten was blown up on a fishing boat by the Irish Republican Army (the IRA). This tragedy occurred in real life.

In real life as on Netflix, the story of “Uncle Dickie” was one of the Royal Family’s greatest traumas and tragedies as he was, indeed, murdered by the Irish Republican Army at age 79. The family has continued to honor the memory of “Uncle Dickie,” most recently in the choice of the name Louis for the third child of Prince William and his wife, Kate.

Thus, it’s not surprising that Philip and Penny would be close; the Mountbatten family had always figured prominently in Philip’s life story and his heart.

Read more about Lord Mountbatten’s death at the hands of the IRA here.

2. ‘The Crown’ on Netflix Shows Knatchbull & Philip in ‘Intimate Scenes,’ Which the Queen’s Former Press Secretary Called ‘Cruel Rubbish’

penny knatchbull

Getty28th March 1980: Lord and Lady Romsey in the grounds of Broadland, showing the house in the background. The house, which formerly belonged to Lord Mountbatten, is to be re-opened to the public.

Information about the 4th season of “The Crown” has leaked out and, according to The Sun, the Netflix series will show Knatchbull and Philip in “intimate scenes.”

This has caused controversy. The Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter told the Sun: “This is cruel rubbish.”

“Coming just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip, this is very distasteful and, quite frankly, cruel rubbish,” he told the publication.

“The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family. Netflix are not interested in people’s feelings.”

In the show, Penny and Philip are “seen touching hands as he divulges details of his marriage.”
Express reported that Penny regularly saw Philip before his death, and the Queen sought her help to get the aging Duke of Edinburgh to stop driving.

3. Knatchbull, Who Lost a Daughter to Cancer at a Young Age, Was One of Only 30 People at Philip’s Funeral

penny knatchbull

Getty28th March 1980: The grandson of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Lord Romsey, with his wife Penelope seated in the Wedgwood Room of Broadlands, once the home of Lord Louis Mountbatten, on the announcement that the 16th-century stately home would reopen to the public on 1st April 1980.

The closeness between Philip and Penny clearly did not upset the Queen, at least not publicly. Knatchbull was one of only 30 people invited to the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, according to The Radio Times.

“She looked heartbroken when she arrived at the funeral and she is heartbroken. She’s lost her best friend,” Express reported.

Knatchbull lost her 5-year-old daughter Leonora to kidney cancer in 1991; The New York Post reports that “The Crown” argues this tragedy brought her closer to Philip. They share a love of carriage driving in the show, and Philip confides that he and the Queen have “grown in separate directions,” a portrayal hotly disputed by people close to the former Monarch, The Post reported.

According to People, the families were so close that Prince Charles was Norton’s best man when he married Penny, and Norton and Penny’s home – called Broadlands – was where Philip and Princess Elizabeth honeymooned in 1947.

4. Knatchbull Is the Daughter of a ‘Butcher Turned Businessman’

penny knatchbull

GettyLord Brabourne and Lady Brabourne attend the funeral service of Patricia Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge on June 27, 2017 in London, England.

The Sun reported that Knatchbull was born in London, England, on April 16, 1963.

She has also been known as Lady Romsey and Lady Brabourne, as well as the High Steward of Romsey.

Her father was Reginald Eastwood, described by the Sun as a “butcher-turned-businessman.”

She studied in Switzerland and the London School of Economics, according to The Sun.

5. Knatchbull Was Described as Prince Philip’s ‘Keeper of Secrets’

prince philipGet

GettyLONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 8: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, smiles after unveiling a plaque at the end of his visit to Richmond Adult Community College in Richmond on June 8, 2015 in London, England. Prince Philip, officially opened and was shown round the new art, drama and dance facilities at the further education college which offers up to 2,000 courses.

People reported that Penny first met Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth in 1974. She was 32 years young than he was, but they developed “a close friendship over the years, bonding over their love of outdoor activities and all things equestrian.”

Indeed, Philip “taught Penny the sport of carriage driving,” and she was spotted attending the Royal Windsor Horse show with Queen Elizabeth II, People reported.

According to the book “Prince Philip Revealed” by Ingrid Seward, as described in People, the author wrote, “When I saw Philip and Penny gilding around the dance floor at the Royal Yacht Squadron Ball during Cowes Week, neither of them gave a damn who saw them or what anyone might say.”

Penny was the “second-most important woman in the Duke of Edinburgh’s life — a constant confidante, loyal companion and ‘keeper of secrets,'” she wrote.

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