Penelope Knatchbull: who is Prince Philip’s friend Penny in The Crown, is she married, who is her husband?

The Crown season 5 follows the royal family through the 1990s, as features new characters from Elizabeth and Philip’s lives

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Season 5 of Netflix drama The Crown takes place in the 1990s and follows major events in the lives of the royal family. The fire at Windsor Castle, the John Major government, and the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, and Diana’s later relationship with surgeon Hasnat Khan will all be covered in the latest season. Prince Philip’s close friendship with Penelope Knatchbull, known as Penny Romsey, will also feature in the season.

Jonathon Pryce and Natascha McElhone on The CrownJonathon Pryce and Natascha McElhone on The Crown
Jonathon Pryce and Natascha McElhone on The Crown

Who is Penelope Knatchbull?

Penelope Meredith Mary Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, born Penelope Eastwood, is a 69-year-old peeress from London. She was known as Lady Romsey from 1979 until 2005, when she became The Lady Brabourne.

She first met the Queen and Prince Philip in 1974 and became a close friend and confidante of Prince Philip, despite him being 32 years older than her. Philip taught Penny the sport of carriage driving, and the pair often attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show alongside the monarch.

Penny was known as the second-most important woman in Prince Philip’s life, and was his keeper of secrets. She continued to visit Philip after he retired from public duties in 2017, and attended his funeral, along with his closest friends and family, which had attendance restricted to 30 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since 2010, she has served as High Steward of Romsey, succeeding her husband who had served in the role since 1979.

Penny  Knatchbull attends Prince Philip’s funeralPenny  Knatchbull attends Prince Philip’s funeral
Penny Knatchbull attends Prince Philip’s funeral

Who did Penelope Knatchbull marry?

She married Prince Philip’s godson, Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was at the time known as Lord Romsey, in 1979. The pair had three children together - Lord Brabourne Nicholas Knatchbull, Lady Alexandra Hooper, and Leonora Knatchbull.

The pair married two months after the IRA assassinated Norton’s maternal grandfather, Louis Mountbatten, younger brother Nicholas Knatchbull, and his 83-year-old paternal grandmother, Doreen Knatchbull. The IRA had planted a bomb on Mountbatten’s boat, killing four occupants and injuring the other three.

Lord Romsey, became 8th Lord Brabourne in 2005 and 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma in 2017. King Charles, then Prince, was Norton’s best man, and Penny and her husband moved into the country house Broadlands, where Princess Elizabeth and Philip spent their honeymoon in 1947.

Who plays Penelope Knatchbull on The Crown season 5?

Natasha McElhone plays Penelope Knatchbull in the series opposite Jonathon Pryce’s Prince Philip and Elliot Cowan’ Norton Knatchbull. McElhone has starred as Dr. Catherine Halsey in video game series Halo, Bella Ainsworth in the drama series Hotel Portofino, and Alex Kirkman in thriller series Designated Survivor.

She is perhaps best known for playing Karen in the comedy drama Californication. Her film appearances include playing Deirdre in Ronin, Lauren in The Truman Show, Deborah in Killing Me Softly, and Marie in Mr. Church.

When is The Crown season 5 on Netflix?

Season 5 of The Crown landed on Netflix on Wednesday 9 November - there are ten episodes in the series and they were all released in one go. All of season 1-5 are available to watch now on Netflix.

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