Helena Bonham Carter has deep-dived into the mind of Princess Margaret so well that the crew behind The Crown asked her for help when it came to how Margaret would have behaved in new situations. Helena herself decided how Margaret processed Princess Diana's doomed marriage.
Helena Bonham Carter Inside the Mind of Princess Margaret
In Netflix's The Crown, Helena Bonham Carter is returning as Queen Elizabeth's younger sister for the highly anticipated season 4 in which we finally get to see the love triangle between Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Camilla Parker-Bowles (and Andrew Parker-Bowles!). Now while promoting the new season with Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies, Helena is letting fans know just how much she had a hand in her character.
In a press conference promoting the new season, she said speaking of the red flags between Charles and Diana, "It becomes very clear before the marriage that there are big problems. It's already compromised." She even had her own hand in how Princess Margaret reacted, "I like to credit myself for this idea: At one point, Margaret pipes up and says, 'Hang on, I'm not going to be a part of this.' She's not going to interfere with a marriage after [her previous relationship] was back when Vanessa Kirby [portrayed her]."
Princess Margaret famously fell in love and was betrothed to Peter Townsend but the Church and British cabinet would not approve the marriage because Peter was divorced. Ultimately they split and she went on to marry and divorce Antony Armstrong-Jones. Helena said of Margaret, "I think she had a sympathy for Diana. She saw Diana being picked up by the press as a fashion template, but she also knew that there was going to be a honeymoon period and how quickly the press could turn. And marriage is a complicated thing, and then there's the [Royal] duty."
The Crown Actors On Princess Diana
Margaret ostensibly, "can see that Diana is too young" considering Diana was 20 and Charles was 32 when they married. Humans have emotional reactions in their hearts, and if they're not going to be happy, they're going to be useless for the country." This is directly addressed in the new season when an episode focuses on Princess Margaret's health.
Bonham Carter explained, "There's no doubt that if she had lived during a different era, she would have had an entirely different life. Margaret would have fared much better now. There's much more tolerance now talking about mental health. She couldn't have depression during her time or in that family. She lived through a time that was very unforgiving of human emotional fragility."
Tobias Menzies who portrays Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip understood his character's sympathy toward's Lady Di, and said, "There are similarities between Philip and Diana. She's an outsider, a position he has obviously been in. Maybe he has kind of an appreciation for the challenges she's going through. But I think, on a very basic level, he just thinks she's a good fit. In an old-fashioned way, he likes her femininity, her beauty. He's very seduced by her."
Now when it comes to passing on their roles to the next cast for season 5, Helena said she is open to speaking with Lesley Manville who will be the new Princess Margaret, "But only if she wants to. Vanessa Kirby was so generous. It's kind of like handing over a baton in a relay race, but it never comes back. I want to hand over my cigarette holder and say, 'Good luck with this.' But I could give a lot of tips if she wanted. I could set a whole Margaret school by now."
Colman added that if Imelda Staunton called her for help playing the new Queen Elizabeth, "I'd be so excited. I'd say, 'Good luck. The wig is itchy. Work on your walk.' She's already got a much better walk than me though."
We cannot wait for the new season! Netflix's The Crown premiers on November 15th, check out the teaser trailer here!