If you haven't finished season two of The Crown, proceed with caution, light spoilers ahead.
In the first two seasons of The Crown, Queen Elizabeth's close friend and horse racing manager "Porchie" is played by Joseph Kloska. (He appears again in season three, portrayed by actor John Hollingworth.)
He's depicted as the British monarch's close confident, and perhaps even a love interest. But there's more to his story. Here's what Lord Porchester (who would eventually go on to become Henry Herbert, the 7th Earl of Carnarvon) was like in real life—plus, how he's also connected to another popular period drama: Downton Abbey.
Porchie was born in January of 1924 to the 6th Earl of Carnarvon and his first wife Catherine Wendell.
The Baron of Porchester's full name was quite the mouthful: Henry George Reginald Molyneux Herbert, so his friends called him "Porchie" (or "Porchey," depending on where you see it printed) after his title. The nickname reportedly stuck even after he inherited the title of Earl of Carnarvon, when his father died in 1987.
His family owns Highclere Castle, which is also known as the real-life Downton Abbey.
In addition to being depicted in The Crown, Porchie has ties to another beloved period drama. His family's estate Highclere Castle serves as the setting for Downton Abbey. While Porchie did not live to see the program on television, the Queen reportedly "loves" watching Downton Abbey, perhaps because she feels a special affinity for Highclere Castle.
(For fans of both series, there are other similarities, including actors Harry Hadden Paton, who plays both Edith's husband Herbert Pelham and the Queen's private secretary Martin Charteris; Matthew Goode, who plays Henry Talbot and Antony Armstrong-Jones and Harriet Walker, who plays Lady Prudence Shackleton and Clementine Churchill.)
Did he and the Queen have an affair?
While Porchie and the Queen attended a number of events together throughout their young lives (and The Crown seems to hint at a potential romantic relationship), there is no evidence to suggest that they had an affair. Rather, they had a rich friendship, based in no small part on their shared love of horses.
“It was a very equal friendship ranging over many interests,” the current Earl of Carnarvon said of his father in an interview with the Telegraph. “They were from the same generation. They had been through the war. They shared a great love of the countryside and wildlife as well as horses. Whether they were walking at Sandringham, Highclere or in Scotland, it was always a great obsession."
Porchie married Jean Margaret Wallop in 1956, and they went on to have three children together, including George Reginald Oliver Molyneux Herbert, the current Earl of Carnarvon. The Queen is his godmother.
Porchie passed away in September of 2001 at the age of 77.
He was succeeded by his son-in-law John Warren as the Queen's racing manager.
Watch the trailer of The Crown season 3:
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