Robert Lacey, historical consultant and author of THE CROWN: The Official Companion for the award-winning Netflix series, is quoted in regards to this question about Season 2, Episode 1: ‘Was THE CROWN Right About Prince Philip’s Alleged Affair?’
During the second-season premiere of THE CROWN, Prince Philip is set to take off on a five-month journey aboard the royal yacht Britannia to visit the different British commonwealths and open the 1956 Olympic games in Australia. Before he goes, Queen Elizabeth tries to hide a camera in his suitcase as a surprise gift — but in doing so, she finds a picture of Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova.
In that same episode, Queen Elizabeth attends a performance of the ballet ‘Giselle’, and Ulanova is the lead ballerina. While she watches, Elizabeth and the dancer make eye contact multiple times; the Queen looks impossibly sad the entire time. After the show, someone asks the Queen whether she wants to meet Ulanova, and she declines.
These scenes mark the beginning of the show’s allusions to Prince Philip being unfaithful. Throughout the rest of his five-month trek, you’re led to believe Philip has affairs with locals in the different commonwealths, but it’s intentionally ambiguous.
But did Prince Philip have an affair with Ulanova? (Or, indeed, other affairs.) ‘People have often said, “He must have been unfaithful,” but there is no solid evidence,’ Robert Lacey, THE CROWN’s royal consultant, told PEOPLE:
When you’ve seen the episodes, you get the feeling why people make that supposition. But there is no evidence for it.’
The Queen is depicted as suspecting, or believing, that something is wrong without being able to prove it. And it provokes the worst period in their relationship, without transgressing the bounds of what is proven.