What's Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip's Relationship Like In Real Life? 'The Crown' Shows Some Tension

Netflix's new series The Crown shows a very different side to the Queen Elizabeth that most of the modern world has known. Claire Foy plays the young UK monarch in at the start of her reign in the show's first season, which premiered Friday and includes some tension with husband Prince Philip (Matt Smith). So you might be wondering what is Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's relationship like in real life? The couple has been married since 1947, but like any couple, they had their differences as well. One of their main points of tension came from a very modern feminist issue: He wanted her to take his surname and she didn't, according to many sources. Bustle reached out the royal press office for comment on the show's portrayal of the relationship and Philip's reported response to Elizabeth not taking his surname and received this statement: "The Crown is a fictional drama. The Royal Household has had no involvement."

Queen Elizabeth, 90, and Prince Philip, 95, are still married in their 90s and have come a long way since they first met when the queen was a princess. A 13-year-old Elizabeth met Philip when he was an 18-year-old naval cadet in 1939, courted through letters and visits, and got married at Westminster Abbey in 1947, according to a Vanity Fair adaptation from the biography Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith. "They just have an incredible instinctive chemistry," Smith told Vanity Fair in an interview.

Indeed, that chemistry was palpable in a letter Philip wrote to Elizabeth before their wedding, according to The Telegraph. "To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty," he wrote.


Princess Elizabeth became queen in 1952 after the death of her father King George VI, which would make her no ordinary wife. But Philip wanted to keep with tradition and see his wife — as well as the family — keep with tradition and take his surname: Mountbatten, according to The Telegraph. Yup, there is a royal surname — King George VI adopted Windsor as the royal last name in 1917 to be used when surnames are required, like marriage certificates, says the official site of the royal family. According to Smith's adaptation in Vanity Fair, the queen wanted to honor her father by keeping the family as the House of Windsor — and Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed.

It was an issue that did put a strain on their marriage for a bit, according to Vanity Fair. And much like in modern times, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to a hyphenated compromise: Their descendants would use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor if they need it, says the royal family website. So, all's well that ends well.