The Crown has shed new light on one of Queen Elizabeth’s most enduring and close relationships

By Simon Perry
Updated December 21, 2016 03:35 PM
Advertisement
Roger Jackson/Central Press/Getty Images

The Crown has shed new light on one of Queen Elizabeth’s most enduring and close relationships: her bond with racing manager Lord “Porchie” Porchester.

They would talk three times a week on the phone, and as the hit Netflix series shows, he had a direct line to the monarch. But despite the harsh glares from a seemingly jealous Prince Philip (Matt Smith) on the show, in real life theirs was strictly a platonic close friendship, experts say.

Porchie “was a sensitive, quiet man who shared her passion for horses,” Robert Lacey, a royal historian and consultant to the series, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “He was on the same wavelength.”

Horses are a central part of Elizabeth’s life, her most passionate hobby and one that she and Porchie could share, as both had an in-depth knowledge of bloodstock and racing.

For more on the real stories behind The Crown, pick up a copy of the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

“I would not go beyond characterizing them as old friends who had a very deep bond in this mutual love of horses, and horse breeding and horse racing,” says fellow royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth: The Queen. “They were extremely fond of each other, but I have no reason to think that it went any further.”

The Queen rarely shows emotion in public. Adds Bedell Smith, whose latest book, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, is out in April: “He died on 9/11, and at the memorial service at St. Paul’s, Elizabeth was probably weeping for Porchie as much as the losses sustained on 9/11.”