Fans are eagerly anticipating the third season of “The Crown”, with Oscar winner Olivia Colman taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Claire Foy as the storyline moves into the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s.
While the new season won’t be available to stream until next weekend, some of the upcoming storylines are already causing some serious pearl-clutching among royal watchers, according to a new report from the Daily Mail.
One of these storylines involves the Queen’s obsessive interest in horses, leading her to leave Buckingham Palace on a mission to visit stud farms in Kentucky and France in order to immerse herself in all the latest cutting-edge equine technology after her prized thoroughbred performs poorly at Ascot.
In “The Crown”, the Queen is accompanied on this extended journey by her childhood friend Lord Porchester, who shares her passion for all things equestrian. When she returns to Buckingham Palace, a brief-but-chilly scene finds Prince Philip (now played by “Outlander” star Tobias Menzies) gently wondering if her friendship with old “Porchie” may be something more.
As Philip tentatively hints at whether she’s been unfaithful, the impatient Queen snaps, “If you have something to say, say it now. Otherwise, if you don’t mind, I’m busy.”
Speaking with the Sunday Times, Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, described the implication as “distasteful and totally unfounded. The Queen is the last person in the world to have ever considered looking at another man,” he said.
“Not only is this muckraking, this is gossip that’s been washing around for decades. It’s got absolutely no substance,” he added. “‘The Crown’ is fiction. No one knows [about] any conversation between members of the Royal Family, but people will tell the story they want to and sensationalize it.”
Because of the new season’s timeline, Princess Anne is no longer a child but a young woman, and she’s depicted as sexually liberated and thoroughly unemotional about her sexual conquests.
In one scene, the princess (played by Erin Doherty) is seen lounging in bed after having sex with then-beau Andrew Parker-Bowles, who would go on to marry Prince Charles future wife, Camilla; one episode even depicts the young Prince of Wales (Josh O’Connor) going on an awkward date with Camilla (portrayed by Emerald Fennell).
In some other scenes, Princess Anne is seen speaking frankly about her active sex life, implying promiscuity is not a big deal in her worldview.
ET Canada has reached out to Netflix for comment.
The third season of “The Crown” drops on Sunday, Nov. 17.