Is Paul Bettany The Crown's New Prince Philip?

Season three of the Emmy-winning Netflix drama will feature a time jump and have new actors playing the royal family

By Chris Harnick Jan 22, 2018 2:43 PMTags
Paul Bettany, Matt Smith, The CrownSteve Zak Photography/FilmMagic, Netflix

There's a new prince on the block. According to reports, Paul Bettany will replace Matt Smith as Prince Philip in season three of The Crown. Yep, Vision replaces the Doctor.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The next season, which has yet to begin production, will jump forward in time, aging up the characters. Gone are Smith, Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby. In their places are Bettany (probably), Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter.

Colman's casting as Queen Elizabeth II was confirmed early on. The Golden Globe winner said this to BBC about replacing Foy: "I think Claire Foy is an absolute genius--she's an incredibly hard act to follow. I'm basically going to re-watch every episode and copy her."

The Crown Season 2 Behind-the-Scenes Photos of All That Glitz and Royal Glamour

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Foy told Jimmy Fallon, "You'll forget all about me and the rest of the cast. You'll be like, ‘Who are they?' We're the warm-up act."

Kirby, the former Princess Margaret portrayer, seemingly confirmed Bonham Carter's casting on Instagram, saying she was honored by the replacement.

Smith previously teased he probably knew who his replacement was going to be and was flattered. "If it's the person it could be, I was just totally flattered I thought, ‘How marvelous,'" Smith told Seth Meyers.

Season three, which is expected to drop in 2019, will introduce viewers to young adult versions of Queen Elizabeth's kids, including Prince Charles. Set in the 1970s, the series will also show the beginnings of Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Learn more about The Crown season three below.

A New Queen

With Claire Foy departing the role that earned her a Golden Globe, Broadchurch and The Night Manager star Olivia Colman is set to take over the royal duties in season three and four.

"I think Claire Foy is an absolute genius--she's an incredibly hard act to follow," Colman told BBC. "I'm basically going to re-watch every episode and copy her."

Prince Phillip's Successor

Matt Smith's replacement is Outlander star Tobias Menzies. Ahead of the announcement, the former Prince Phillip teased, "I'm not meant to know, but I maybe know," when he was on Late Night. "If it's the person it could be, I was just totally flattered I thought, 'How marvelous.'"

He then continued, "If it's the person I think it might be, and he's incredibly handsome as well. I have morphed into someone far better looking than I."

A Marriage Crumbles

Spoiler alert…sort of. Since, you know, history. But we will see the disintegration of Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby in seasons one and two, Helena Bonham Carter in season three) and photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones' (played by Matthew Goode in season two and Ben Daniels in season three) tumultuous marriage.

The show's history consultant Robert Lacey told Town & Country, "We'll see the breakup of this extraordinary marriage between Margaret and Snowdon. This season, you see how it starts, and what a strange character, a brilliant character Snowdon was."

In case you were curious: the pair divorced in 1978. (Quite controversial at the time.)

Camilla Makes Her Debut

Viewers will meet a young Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles' second (and current) wife, whom he dated before marrying Princess Diana.

Producer Suzanne Mackie confirmed the news in April at the BFI & Radio Times Festival in London, teasing, "We start meeting Camilla Parker Bowles in season three."

The Timeline

It seems likely that season three will at least partly take place in the '70s, given that Charles and Camilla first dated early in that decade, with BBC reporting it will begin in 1964. (Season one spanned 1947-1953, while season two documented 1953-1964, taking us to Prince Edward's birth.)

A Long Wait

While season two aired just one year after season one, the wait for season three will be a little longer, at least according to BBC, which is reporting that The Crown will return in 2019. Patience, it's a virtue.

The Crown has won three Emmys, two Golden Globes, two BAFTA Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Foy took home her second and last Screen Actors Guild Award for playing Queen Elizabeth in The Crown at the 2018 ceremony.