Who is Norton Knatchbull in The Crown season 5?

By Louie Fecou
Published: November 11, 2022
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Who is Norton Knatchbull in The Crown season 5? We deep dive into one of the smaller mysteries of the fifth season and possible connections to the Royal Family.

The Crown is back, and fans are gearing up for the 5th season of the stunning and controversial show. The Crown is entering an absolutely iconic era, and this could arguably be the most riveting set of episodes yet. This will be the first season of The Crown shown since the death of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, so with the memory of these events still fresh in the public’s mind, who knows how the events here will be processed, but one thing is for sure, The Crown will be a ratings winner with plenty to talk about. The ensemble cast continues to grow, and you may be excused for not keeping up to date with all the characters featured, so let’s get you up to speed with one of the lesser-known principal players, Norton Knatchbull.

What episode is Norton Knatchbull mentioned in The Crown Season 5?

Norton is first mentioned in The Crown season 5, episode 2, titled “The System.”

Who is Norton Knatchbull in The Crown season 5?

Good question, as this is not a name that will be immediately familiar to viewers of the show. Norton Knatchbull is the 3rd Earl of Mountbatten of Burma, the grandson of the first Earl of Mountbatten, Louis, and the second cousin of the current King Charles III. The Countess of Mountbatten is Penny Knatchbull, and her relationship with the Royals is probably more prominent than people think, something that the writers of The Crown have noted and hinted at in various ways. In The Crown season 5, Norton Knatchbull is presented as a confidant to the then Prince Charles. He did, in fact, attend the prestigious Gordonstoun School with Charles as a child. Charles was the best man at Norton’s wedding when he married Penny in 1979. Norton is played by Elliot Cowan in the series. Cowan may be recognized for playing Mr. Darcy in the series Lost in Austen, a romantic comedy based on Pride and Prejudice.

Is Norton Knatchbull still alive?

Norton Knatchbull is still alive. Born in 1947 in Lambeth, London, the 75-year-old stays at the 86-acre Broadlands Estate. The 60-room estate was the honeymoon venue for Philip and The Queen back in 1947.

How is Penny Knatchbull related to Prince Philip?

So, we are getting into the nitty gritty that the writers of The Crown have probably been tying themselves in knots about since they started writing the fifth series. Has there ever been a show that Netflix lawyers worked harder on? We probably will never know, but I imagine this was thin ice that had to be handled very carefully before being released. Penny Knatchbull is related through marriage to Prince Philip, as Norton is Philip’s godson, and there is also another link with Norton being the grandson of Philip’s uncle, Louis Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.

Why are Penny Knatchbull and Prince Philip companions in The Crown season 5?

So, Penny Knatchbull, formerly Penelope Eastwood, became an important player in the lives of the major Royals. When her 5-year-old daughter Leonora tragically passes through cancer, she finds companionship with Prince Philip, who becomes a shoulder to cry on. They soon discover a love of carriage driving, an activity popularised by Philip when he gave up playing Polo in 1971, and Philip would introduce her to the sport before long speculation about their relationship would heighten.

What did The Queen think of Penny?

Depending on where you do your research, it would seem that many sources would hint at more than just a friendship between Penny Knatchbull and Prince Philip, an area that The Crown writers have had to be very careful about.

It may be notable that at Philip’s funeral, she would be one of a small number of attendees, numbers being limited due to Covid-19 regulations. She would also be present at the Queen’s funeral too. Penny is seen to spend a lot of time with Philip in the series, they have a project restoring an old carriage together, and later in the series, there are a few tense moments with Penny and The Queen, played by Imelda Staunton.

The Crown may have played a little with the timeline for Penny, though. It seems that she had been involved with the Royals as far back as 1974 when they met at a Polo match. Norton and Charles had been friends, and Penny had just started dating Norton around then.

When she visited Balmoral before her wedding in 1979, there were press reports that thought it was, in fact, Charles that she was marrying. As is the case in The Crown, certain liberties are taken to enhance the drama, and it would seem that some of the more intense scenes between Penny and The Queen may be there to create tension. Penny had a love of horses that she shared with the Queen, and she would be invited to intimate and public engagements with The Queen on numerous occasions. Even after Philip’s death, this situation would continue, suggesting that the tension may be highlighted for dramatic purposes in the series.

The truth is we may never get a clear view of the true status of the relationships that we see revealed in The Crown. The series may seem to have an in-depth look at the interior workings of the Royals, but it should be noted that a lot of strands in the show may have been embellished by the writers, with the legal team hovering over them to make sure that no real lines have been crossed.

Just like many biopics that have captured the public’s imagination, the truth will lie somewhere in between the facts and what the show’s producers present us with. What is undeniable, though, is the part that Norton and Penny played in the lives of Philip and The Queen and, strangely, how little the general public would be aware of them. I suppose if you are a fan of the Royal Family, you may have been a little more informed than the likes of myself, who had to do a small amount of research to get a handle on Norton and Penny Knatchbull, but they are an integral part of the sprawling Royal tapestry even to this day. You live and learn.

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