The actor, who has played Prince Philip on Netflix’s The Crown for the two seasons now, has some understanding of what Markle, 36, is about to face.
“I feel sorry for her,” Smith, 35, said during a talk at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. “It’s such a transition in her life, and it’s such a huge thing to take on. Life as she knows it is gone. But hey, she’s marrying the prince of Britain — how exciting for her.”
Prince Philip, as portrayed by Smith, struggles with the same transition Markle is about to confront and later has difficulty adjusting to life in the shadow of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy on the Netflix drama), as they are both forced to adhere to tradition and royal custom.
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Foy, 33, has a rather more optimistic outlook, however, believing many of challenges that have previously plagued the royal family aren’t so apparent in this day and age.
“You realize the fact that Elizabeth forbade her sister from marrying a divorced man; it goes to show how time has changed and how they’ve had to evolve,” said Foy. (Markle is a divorcee.) “And they really have. This would not have been conceivable, this would not have happened 50 years ago. And I think that’s why the monarchy will survive and thrive, because it’s willing to change and listen to the people and realize that some elements of the institution are outdated and unnecessary.”
To see more of those outdated and unnecessary elements of the institution, tune into season 2 of The Crown when it returns to Netflix on Friday, Dec. 8.