The 75-year-old actor, who will portray the late Duke of Edinburgh in seasons five and six of the popular Netflix drama "The Crown," has argued that Philip's well-known mistakes were due to the fact that he was a "product" of his day.
Jonathan stated to the Daily Telegraph: "Young people's first impression of him is that he was racist. Not at all. He was a product of a time when racism was tolerated on occasion, but I don't believe he was racist in the slightest.
"He was very smart, inquisitive, and inventive for his time. He gave talks, gave tours, and inspired others. He made his best efforts despite feeling bound by the monarchy."
Jonathan described how he learned a lot about Philip from talking to carriage drivers, a pastime the late prince took up for enjoyment.
Star of "Pirates of the Caribbean" "I had thought of him as being rather reserved and aloof, but after speaking with others who knew him—the carriage-driving community and "The Crown's" special advisers on protocol—it became evident that he was a joy to be around, very amusing, and full of life. Nobody I spoke with had anything negative to say."
The character Philip, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 99, was described by Jonathan as his most difficult "acting challenge."
He stated: "It was and still is my hardest acting challenge.
"It became even more difficult after he passed away. When you saw how much his children and grandkids loved him in the documentaries honouring him and his grandchildren, you instantly realised that the general public was unaware of this aspect of him. He came as a huge surprise. Over the years, I wished I had learned more about him."