The hotly anticipated fifth season of The Crown has arrived, and with it comes a slew of new royal-adjacent characters. Included amongst the newcoming characters this season is the close Windsor family friend Norton Knatchbull—here's everything you need to know about the real life peer.

Born in 1947, Norton is the son of John Knatchbull, Baron Brabourne, and Patricia Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Known as Lord Romsey for much of his life, he ultimately inherited both of his parents's titles, becoming the 8th Baron Brabourne and 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

Throughout the 1970s, Norton followed in the footsteps of his father, who was known professionally as a film producer under the name John Brabourne. Norton worked on a number of films and television productions, including Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

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On October 20, 1979, Norton married Penelope "Penny" Eastwood, the daughter of Angus Steahouse founder Reginald Eastwood. The two would go on to have three children: Nicholas, Alexandra, and Leonora. In 1991, his youngest daughter, Leonora tragically died from kidney cancer at the age of 5—Norton and Penny would go on to found a charitable foundation is Leonora's name which is now part of The Edwina Mountbatten and Leonora Children's Foundation to provide help and support for sick children around the globe. Penny and Alexandra remain trustees for the charity.

In 2010 it was reported that Norton had moved to the Bahamas with Eugenie Nuttall, though he later returned to the UK.

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Knatchbull attended Prince William’s 1997 confirmation along with members of the royal family and close friends.
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Is Norton Knatchbull related to the royal family?

Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice, was the sister of Norton's grandfather, Louis Mountbatten (familiar to The Crown fans as Uncle Dickie)—as a descendant of Queen Victoria, he was also more distantly related to Queen Elizabeth, consequently strengthening Norton's connections to the royal family. That close relationship even led Philip to be Norton's godfather—an honor that would eventually be passed on to Norton, who became one of Prince William's godfathers.

Then-Prince Charles was also a friend of Norton's, and even served as best man at Norton's 1979 wedding.

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Prince Philip and Penelope Knatchbull at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2007.
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Did Prince Philip have an affair with Norton's wife, Penny?

For many years, Philip and Penny maintained a close relationship—indeed biographer Ingrid Seward, author of Prince Philip Revealed called her the "second-most important woman in the Duke of Edinburgh's life—a constant confidante, loyal companion and 'keeper of secrets.'"

The duo became close after the death of the Knatchbull's daughter Leonora in 1991, around the same time Philip's family was brewing up trouble of their own in what the Queen would come to refer to as her "annus horribilis" the following year. Philip and Penny shared an interest in the sport of carriage driving and were often seen at events like the Royal Windsor Horse Show together throughout the Duke of Edinburgh's life. Penny was even invited to be one of just 30 mourners at a scaled back private funeral for the prince after his death in April 2021.

Over the years, many have speculated that they had a romantic entanglement, but no impropriety has ever been confirmed.

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Lauren Hubbard

Lauren Hubbard is a freelance writer and Town & Country contributor who covers beauty, shopping, entertainment, travel, home decor, wine, and cocktails.