Halloween may be over but Helena Bonham Carter just can’t help herself: during the press tour for season three of The Crown, she revealed that she sought approval from Princess Margaret (whom she plays on the Netflix series) via spiritual medium.
Unlike Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth and apparently didn’t want to do much research for the role, Bonham Carter told Graham Norton she goes to “ridiculous lengths” to research her characters, and Princess Margaret was no exception.
Norton asked for clarification of Bonham Carter’s claim that she spoke with a psychic to prepare for the role. “I did meet a psychic, who’s a friend of mine, and I was seeing her,” the actress explained. “She does healing. She does other things, but she also has a talent for mediumship and as I was seeing her for something else, she said, ‘Oh, Margaret is here. Does that mean anything?’ and I said, ‘Yes, it does.'”
At that point, the actress was considering the role of Princess Margaret but had not actually confirmed. When she asked the late princess whether she should take the part, she says the royal ghost answered in the affirmative. “I asked, ‘Would you mind if I played you?’ She did say, ‘I think you’re a better idea than the other actor [being considered for the part],'” Bonham Carter said. “It was a very typical Margaret thing.”
And Bonham Carter would know, having met the royal “a couple of times” before she passed away. “She had a way of sometimes complimenting you and putting you down at the same time. And the fact that she said, ‘Oh yeah, I think that you’re better than the other,’…It’s like you never knew where you were with her,” the actress explained.
Princess Margaret’s spirit also gave Bonham Carter one sage piece of advice: she told the actress to “get the smoking right.”
“I smoked in a particular way and always remember that the cigarette holder is as much a weapon for expression as anything else,” the deceased royal apparently said. “And that was a good note.”
Bonham Carter continued to characterize Princess Margaret as someone with an “innately dramatic” personality. Fans of The Crown, and those who have read up on Princess Margaret’s decadent morning routine, will know that the actress was indeed correct with that description. “If you’re royal, you can’t necessarily talk much. You’re a walking icon,” Bonham Carter said. “She was very, I think, conscious about the silhouette and whatever she did with her body and particular with her hands.”