The Queen and horse race manager Lord Porchester were ‘just good friends, nothing more’


The Queen and horse racing manager Lord Porchester were ‘just good friends’, insists a royal historian as she hits back at The Crown’s depiction of the two having an affair

  • Queen and Lord Porchester were ‘just good friends’, says historian Kate Williams
  • The Crown criticised for suggesting the monarch had an affair with her friend
  • Series three of the popular Netflix drama begins on November 17

A royal historian has hit back at The Crown’s depiction of The Queen and her horse racing manager Lord Porchester as lovers, insisting the pair were ‘just good friends’.

Appearing on Sky News this morning, British expert Kate Williams said the duo shared ‘nothing more than a friendship’. 

‘I think that the Queen had a very close friendship with Lord Porchester but it was nothing more than a friendship,’ she told Kay Burley.

‘Perhaps in those days, it would be seen stranger for a man and a woman to be good friends than perhaps it is now.

The Queen and Lord Porchester at the Derby in 1985 (left). Netflix's The Crown was criticised for suggesting the monarch, 93, had an affair with the her childhood friend, whom she affectionately called Porchie

The Queen and Lord Porchester at the Derby in 1985 (left). Netflix’s The Crown was criticised for suggesting the monarch, 93, had an affair with the her childhood friend, whom she affectionately called Porchie

The third season of The Crown hints at an alleged affair between the Queen and her horse racing manager Lord Porchester. Pictured: Claire Foy as the royal and Joseph Kloska as Porchie in the second season of the drama

The third season of The Crown hints at an alleged affair between the Queen and her horse racing manager Lord Porchester. Pictured: Claire Foy as the royal and Joseph Kloska as Porchie in the second season of the drama

‘But there was nothing more than just being good friends and sharing an interest in horse training.’

It comes after Netflix’s The Crown was criticised for suggesting the monarch, 93, had an affair with the her childhood friend, whom she affectionately called Porchie. 

Kate continued: ‘I’ve seen the press pack and the press pack is saying that what it is about is that when she goes away with Lord Porchester it gives her an insight into the life she would have had if she hadn’t been Queen.

‘Because she would have probably been a professional horse trainer, that’s probably what she would have gone into.

‘So it gives her an insight into this different world that she would have had. And that’s what it says it’s about, not about the affair.’ 

The Queen and her racing manager Lord Porchester watch the finish of the 1978 Epsom Derby

The Queen and her racing manager Lord Porchester watch the finish of the 1978 Epsom Derby

The popular Netflix drama is set to show the Queen travelling to stud farms in both America and France with Lord Porchester. The Queen will be played by Olivia Colman, Prince Philip by Tobias Menzies (pictured together in character) and Lord Porchester by John Hollingworth

The popular Netflix drama is set to show the Queen travelling to stud farms in both America and France with Lord Porchester. The Queen will be played by Olivia Colman, Prince Philip by Tobias Menzies (pictured together in character) and Lord Porchester by John Hollingworth

The popular Netflix drama is set to show the Queen travelling to stud farms in both America and France with Lord Porchester. 

The Queen will be played by Olivia Colman, Prince Philip by Tobias Menzies and Lord Porchester by John Hollingworth.  

The suggestion that there may have been an illicit affair between the pair at any point in their friendship has since been branded as ‘muckraking’ by Mr Arbiter. 

‘This is very distasteful and totally unfounded,’ he said, speaking to The Sunday Times. ‘The Queen is the last person in the world to have ever considered looking at another man.

Prince Philip, Lord Porchester and the Queen at Newbury Races, West Berkshire, in 1969

Prince Philip, Lord Porchester and the Queen at Newbury Races, West Berkshire, in 1969

‘The Crown is a fiction. No one knows any conversation between members of the royal family, but people will tell the story the way they want to and sensationalise it.’ 

But earlier this week, royal biographer Tom Bower claimed that ‘a lot of The Crown is true’, when appearing on Good Morning Britain alongside Mr Arbiter.  

Mr Bower defended the drama, saying: ‘I think a lot of it is true, I think a lot of is well researched, a lot of the arguments, a lot of the affairs, a lot of the issues did happen.’

‘So much has come through from people at the scenes so it’s quite reliable. If it’s done in a sexy way then there’s nothing wrong with that.’

The suggestion that there may have been an illicit affair between the pair at any point in their friendship has since been branded as 'muckraking' by the Queen's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter (pictured earlier this week on Good Morning Britain)

The suggestion that there may have been an illicit affair between the pair at any point in their friendship has since been branded as ‘muckraking’ by the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter (pictured earlier this week on Good Morning Britain) 

He added: ‘There’s no doubt that the Queen had a close friendship with Lord Porchester, and we don’t know if there was more than just a passionate friendship. We’ll probably know in one hundred years.’ 

The Crown creator Peter Morgan has previously admitted to using artistic licence with the story lines but Buckingham Palace has so far refused to be drawn into debates.

The new series of the Crown starts next Sunday and will cover the time period from Harold Wilson’s 1964 election as Prime Minister to the Queen’s 1977 silver jubilee.   

 

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