In Season 3 of Netflix’s royal period drama series “The Crown,” Helena Bonham Carter stepped in to play the role of Princess Margaret originated by Vanessa Kirby in the first two seasons — before Claire Foy was taken over by Olivia Colman for the role of Queen Elizabeth II. It turns out that Princess Margaret’s real-life Lady in Waiting, Lady Anne Glenconner, isn’t a fan of Kirby’s portrayal, and instead prefers Bonham Carter’s. And who would know better than Margaret’s righthand woman for more than three decades, anyway?
Glenconner opened up about “The Crown” during a recent interview with People, where she said, “I didn’t like the first one at all. She was too tall,” referring to Kirby, who at 5’7″ is six inches taller than Princess Margaret. “To see this actress towering over Claire Foy was ridiculous. And her voice was not right. Helena has the voice spot-on.” Lucky for Glenconner, Bonham Carter isn’t going away anytime soon, as the Academy Award-nominated actress will reprise the role in the forthcoming fourth season.
Bonham Carter said she did consult Lady Anne Glenconner for research on the role, including Princess Margaret’s chain-smoking habit. But Bonham Carter took it a step further when, as she said back in October 2019, she hired a psychic to connect her with Princess Margaret, who died in 2002 at the age of 71.
“She said, apparently, she was glad it was me. My main thing when you play someone who is real, you kind of want their blessing because you have a responsibility,” Bonham Carter said at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. “So I asked her: ‘Are you OK with me playing you?’ and she said: ‘You’re better than the other actresses… that they were thinking of. They will not admit who it was. It was me and somebody else.” According to Bonham Carter, Princess Margaret gave her blessing from beyond the grave.
“That made me think maybe she is here, because that is a classic Margaret thing to say. She was really good at complimenting you and putting you down at the same time. Then she said: ‘But you’re going to have to brush up and be more groomed and neater.’ Then she said: ‘Get the smoking right. I smoked in a very particular way. Remember that — this is a big note — the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking.’”