Helena Bonham Carter ‘got permission’ to play Princess Margaret in The Crown from the late royal herself, according to a TV insider.
The Sun has reported that the 53-year-old star got in touch with the Queen’s sister, who died aged 71 in 2002, via a medium before accepting a role in the Netflix series.
The Harry Potter actor is set to take over from Vanessa Kirby as Margaret for the third season of the lavish historical drama, while Olivia Colman will replace Claire Foy in the lead role as Queen Elizabeth II.
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Cast members on the hit series, created by BAFTA-winning writer Peter Morgan, are due to be replaced every two seasons in order to reflect the story of Queen Elizabeth’s lengthy reign.
An insider told The Sun that Bonham Carter was keen to ensure that she received the princess’ blessing from beyond the grave before playing her, having met the royal prior to her death.
They said: “Helena was just a fledgling movie star when they met at a royal movie premiere and the fact she made such an impact on her made it especially important to get her blessing.
“But she got much more, including little acting tips, such as using her cigarette and cigarette holder to express herself in The Crown, just as she did in real life.
“She even passed on her advice to cast and crew on set whenever there was a query regarding the princess. Helena would reassure them: ‘Margaret says that’s all right.’”
Bonham Carter previously told Vanity Fair in 2018 that meeting Princess Margaret was a “pretty scary” experience.
A representative for the actress declined to comment.
The first two seasons of The Crown drew widespread critical approval, with particular praise offered to Foy’s performance as the Queen.
She won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her work and John Lithgow was also honoured by SAG for his portrayal of Winston Churchill.
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Other awards recognition was provided via the Primetime Emmy Awards, which have nominated the show 26 times across its two seasons to date.
The third season of The Crown will debut worldwide on Netflix on 17 November.