“The Crown”: In 1969, Philip is immersed in TV coverage of the first moon landing and faults his life in comparison. After prosaic royal engagements at dental and textile facilities, the trained flier has the opportunity to take the controls of a private jet.
He pushes the plane toward the edge of space and, as the pilot protests that the trembling aircraft is at its limit, Philip responds: “Perhaps. But look, we’ve also lived. Just for a minute.”
Meeting with the U.S. astronauts when they visit England as part of a victory lap, Philip tells them his position and marriage kept him from “the things I would’ve liked to, as a man, as an adventurer.”
In reality: During World War II, Philip saw action while serving on battleships and destroyers, was decorated and, at age 21, achieved the rank of first lieutenant in the Royal Navy.
While he carried out a full schedule of royal duties and headed hundreds of charities, he learned to fly in the 1950s and was an avid polo player and yachtsman, as well as painter and art collector. Still driving at 97, he flipped his Land Rover in a crash.
MAN OF FAITH
“The Crown”: Philip is asked to allow a spiritual retreat to be created on Windsor Castle’s grounds for clergy in need of midlife inspiration. He ridicules the plan as “hot air” but agrees to it, and ends up finding solace in its version of a men’s therapy group.
″‘How’s your faith?’” he recalls his mother asking him with concern, then tells the gathering and its dean, ”I’m here to admit to you I’ve lost it ... I come to say, ‘Help.’”
In reality: Robin Woods, the then-dean of Windsor, proposed the founding of St. George’s House in 1966 and Philip became its co-founder and an enthusiastic fundraiser, according to a companion book to “The Crown” by historian Robert Lacey. The center fosters discussion of contemporary issues, its website says.
Woods and Philip were lifelong friends, and the prince would critique his sermons at Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel. Philip’s funeral will be held there April 17.
Christened in the Greek Orthodox Church — though a practicing Anglican, married to the supreme governor of the Church of England — Philip was a visitor to Mount Athos, a monastic community and religious sanctuary in Greece. Leaders of several faiths in Britain say he took a deep interest in spiritual matters.
His coat of arms bears the motto, “God is my help.”
ON TEAM DIANA
“The Crown”: When Diana Spencer is introduced at a family gathering at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, she and Philip bond over a day of stag hunting and he supports her marriage to Charles.
The relationship turns bitter, and Diana tells Philip she’s considering splitting with Charles and the royal family she finds uncaring. Philip cautions her against the step and faults her perspective: Everyone is an outsider apart from the queen, the “one person, the only person, who matters,” he says.
In reality: In letters between Diana and Philip said to have been leaked, Philip is supportive of Diana and critical of his son’s extramarital affair with now-wife Camilla.
But after Diana’s candid TV interview and a revealing biography, Philip’s tone allegedly turned sterner and he wrote that she must “fit in” or exit the family.