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The Crown season 5: meet mourner at Queen's funeral who will have major role in show

The late monarch's close friend will feature in the Netflix drama

penelope the crown
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
Updated: September 21, 2022
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Penelope Knatchbull was seen among the thousands of mourners at Her Majesty the Queen's state funeral on Monday as they gathered at Westminster Abbey and St George's Chapel in Windsor to bid a final farewell to the monarch.

Penelope, who is also known as the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, was a long-time confidante of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh and was pictured looking solemn at the moving service.

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Known informally as Penny, the close friend is considered an important part of the late Queen and Prince Philip's life, and as such is set to be portrayed as a character in the upcoming season of Netflix drama, The Crown. Here's all you need to know…

WATCH: First look at Imelda Staunton as the Queen as she reveals release date

Who is Penelope Knatchbull?

The Countess is the only daughter of butcher-turned-businessman Reginald Eastwood and she became close to the royal family through her relationship with Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl of Mountbatten. Penelope was an immediate hit with the royals, but particularly impressed the Queen and Philip when she was first introduced by Norton in 1975.

From then on, Penelope would continue to be a close companion of both the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh, the trio would bond over their love of outdoor sports. They would go out riding together and Philip taught the Countess to drive carriages in the 1990s.

MORE: The Crown star Claire Foy breaks silence over the Queen's death with beautiful tribute

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penelope countess burma© Photo: Getty Images

Who will play Penelope Knatchbull in The Crown?

Penelope Knatchbull will appear as a supporting character in the upcoming fifth season of The Crown and will be portrayed by British actress Natasha McElhone.

TV and film fans will certainly recognise Natasha thanks to her expansive career on the screen. Previous credits of hers include The Truman Show, Californication, Designated Survivor, and The First.

MORE: The Queen on screen: Olivia Colman, Helen Mirren, Claire Foy and more

natasha mcelhone© Photo: Getty Images

Penelope will be played by Natasha McElhone in The Crown

Why is Penelope Knatchbull's character in The Crown?

Although the exact storyline involving Penelope in The Crown is yet to be revealed, the Netflix series dramatizes real events that occurred in the royal family – so it's likely that Penelope will feature in series five as a friend and companion of the Queen and Prince Philip, as was the case in real life.

Queen Elizabeth will be portrayed by Imelda Staunton in the new series, while Jonathan Pryce will portray the Duke of Edinburgh. Season five is set to portray events that occurred in the 1990s including the divorce between then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana and the tragic death of Diana in 1997. 

The Crown season five will premiere on Netflix in November 2022.

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