The first season of "The Crown" was commended by many a royal expert for its historical accuracy. I'm afraid the same can't be said for season two, which premiered all 10 episodes on Netflix Dec. 8.
*WARNING - There are spoilers ahead. If you have not started or not yet finished the series, stop right here*
In all my years of studying the royal family, I've never come across the story of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark blaming his son, Prince Philip, for his sister, Princess Cecile's death. Yet, this was a central plot line in episode nine of "The Crown."
Philip had four older sisters, all of whom went on to marry various aristocrats and fellow royals in Europe. Princess Cecile, the youngest of the four daughters, was married to Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse.
In November 1937, the couple and their three children were killed when the plane transporting them to London for a family wedding crashed into a factory chimney in Belgium.
Netflix attempted to rewrite history by placing blame on the Duke of Edinburgh, who was 16 at the time and studying at Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland.
In the episode, Philip returns to Gordonstoun as an adult, this time to drop off his son, Prince Charles, whom he enrolled at the no-fuss school (cold morning showers, anyone?). While in Charles' dorm room, Philip has a flashback to that particularly painful time.
It's November 1937 and Philip is scheduled to spend school break with his older sister and her family, which comes as a relief to Cecile who allegedly had a fear of flying and would thus not have to fly to London for the wedding (presumably because she'd have to keep an eye on him back in Germany).
However, Philip gets in trouble for punching another student and as punishment must stay in Scotland. As a result, Cecile -- who is eight months pregnant at that point -- now has no excuse to avoid the wedding.
While in real life Philip did attend the funeral in Germany, there is no record of what came next in the episode.
"I’m surprised he dare show himself here," Philip's father (played by Greg Williams) said of the young prince. "Had it not been for Philip and his indiscipline she would never have taken that flight. It’s true, isn’t it boy? You’re the reason we’re all here burying my favourite child. Get him out of here."
The exiled Prince of Greece and Denmark was absent for the better part of Philip's life, and according to experts, there is no record of him blaming his son for Cecile's death.
"I know this is not pretending to be factual but it sails very close to the wind and I think this is a particularly nasty thing to suggest," author Penny Junor, who has profiled several members of the royal family, told the Daily Mail. "I personally have never heard of any suggestion that Prince Philip was in any way responsible for his sister's death. It is very harsh and unfair to Prince Philip, who is still living with this tragedy."
Fellow royal biographer Hugo Vickers agrees.
"This is a truly shocking invention since Prince Philip had nothing to do with his sister’s air flight to Britain. He was in no way responsible for the accident," Vickers said, adding that it was "always Cecile's intention to go to the wedding."
What makes this episode even tougher to watch is the fact that Philip has spoken publicly about his sister's death and its effect on him.
"I have the very clearest recollection of the profound shock with which I heard the news of the crash and the death of my sister and her family," the Duke said in the 2015 documentary, "Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King."
When contacted by the Daily Mail, the show's scriptwriter, Tom Edge, said only "I can't comment."