Back in May, it was confirmed that, as Netflix’s The Crown jumps ahead in time, and Olivia Colman steps in for Claire Foy in the titular role of the series, Helena Bonham Carter would be taking over from Vanessa Kirby in her beloved role as Princess Margaret. It’s a lofty part to uphold, and Bonham Carter knows it; as she said in a statement shortly before filming for the third season (which comes out next year) began, “I’m not sure which I’m more terrified about—doing justice to the real Princess Margaret or following in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret.”
It only follows, then, that Bonham Carter is taking the job quite seriously—and proving herself to be just as much of a troublemaker as the late royal while doing so. Indeed, according to The Sun, Bonham Carter hasn’t just been hanging with Princess Margaret’s latest onscreen incarnation but has also hired a psychic to contact the late princess herself.
Sure, an anonymous “TV insider” speaking with a tabloid isn’t the most reliable of sources, but to anyone familiar with Bonham Carter’s eerie oeuvre, this sounds right: “She always likes to research her roles with as much depth as possible—and is always prepared to go that extra mile. So if that means using someone with supernatural powers to speak to a character who is now on the other side, then Helena has no problems with doing that.” Apparently, Bonham Carter has not only made contact with Princess Margaret, but the actress has also been “delighted” to receive “such positive feedback from the late royal,” who’s apparently quite delighted herself to have Bonham Carter in charge of her legacy.
Neither the late Princess Margaret, the psychic, nor Bonham Carter has yet commented on the matter, though it certainly fits right in with the latter’s track record. It was just a few years ago that she went against her mother’s advice and took on the starring role of Elizabeth Taylor in a 2013 BBC film—an icon she made careful preparations to embody, creating a “massive file” that her then partner, Tim Burton, likened to a biography; calling up Taylor’s goddaughter; and, lastly, yes, enlisting the help of a supernatural counsel.
“I even asked a psychic—I’m completely wacko—who was actually de-ghosting our house,” Bonham Carter told IndieWire in 2013, confirming that she does indeed have a psychic on call, who is a friend of hers. “He’s good at moving people on because we’ve had some ghost issues in the house,” she continued. “I told him I was in a real dilemma about the role, and he came back with the answer, ‘Intellectually it makes no sense whatsoever, but emotionally it’s a nine out of 10.’”
It’s unclear, just yet, if this time around Bonham Carter also contacted her astrologer, as she did when preparing to play Taylor, but it seems likely enough that she went ahead and gave the princess the royal treatment by calling up her aunt, a graphologist—aka a handwriting analyst—just as she did when she played the Queen Mother in The King’s Speech, in 2010. If she’s opted to go the way of method acting and sticking with Princess Margaret’s daily routine, which included a “a vodka pick-me-up” at 12:30 p.m., followed by half a bottle of wine with lunch, however, it may really be a while before we hear from Bonham Carter herself on the matter.