The death of Prince Philip at the age of 99, and 2 months short of 100, marked the passing of one of the most enduring figures in centuries of British monarchy. As a tribute to his remarkable personality, I wanted to draw a parallel between his life and the world of films – and what better way to do so than to take a look at his portrayals throughout the ages? While not a super extensive collection, the following list will nevertheless give you sufficient quality material for finding out more about the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
This film made for TV revolved around the subject of Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding – as you might have have guessed from the title. The Duke of Edinburgh was interpreted by Stewart Granger.
While the previous title was released on CBS, this one was aired on ABC just three days later. It focused on a very similar subject – the initial meeting, courtship and marriage of Prince Charles and Diana. On this occasion, Prince Philip was portrayed by Christopher Lee.
It was over a decade later that we got another film that featured Prince Philip, this time played by Donald Douglas. As can be intuited from the title, the movie also had Princess Diana centre stage, focusing on her life and troubled marriage to Prince Charles, and the role Philip played in their evolving dynamics.
This one was made by the BBC in the mid-2000s and presents a half-fictionalised depiction of the younger sister of Queen Elisabeth II, Princess Margaret. Again, the title is self-explanatory. The film spans over a period of time from the early 1950s to the mid 1970s, and Prince Philip was portrayed by David Threlfall.
Until recently, this was the most famous and critically acclaimed project regarding the British monarchy. Yet another self-explanatory title, the film focusses on Queen Elisabeth II, portrayed by Dame Helen Mirren – a role for which she won a Best Leading Actress Oscar. The fillm provides a narrower snapshot of the monarchy, choosing to focus on the events after Princess Diana’s death in 1997. Prince Philip’s role is played by James Cromwell.
The recent, ongoing and largely successful Netflix series provides what is by far the most comprehensive portrayal of the British monarchy, spanning from the pre-WWII period, and so far extending until Thatcher’s government in the late 70s and 80s. The series will continue for two more years, so it might end up in the present day. Therefore, it touches upon many important moments in Philip’s life, including his childhood in Greece, his visit to Nazi Germany as a teenager, his romance with Princess Elisabeth, their marriage, as well as his special chemistry with Princess Diana, his daughter-in-law. Since it spans over so many decades, Philip has been portrayed by several actors: Finn Elliot featured as teenage Philip, Matt Smith portrayed young Philip in the first two seasons, Tobias Menzies played the role in seasons 3 and 4, while Jonathan Pryce will take over for seasons 5 and 6 as an elderly Philip.