Helena Bonham Carter recently revealed how she prepared for her role as Princess Margaret in The Crown and it involved using a psychic to ask the dead royal for permission.
The Guardian reports Carter told audiences at the Cheltenham literary festival that as well as reading all of the Princess’ biographies and contacting a graphologist and astrologer, she hired a psychic to talk to Margaret.
“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,” Carter explained.
“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.”
She added, “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.’”
Carter also said she turned to Princess Margarets’ close circle, “Three ladies-in-waiting, a couple of relatives, a very close relative and some really close friends. They loved the woman and were very happy to talk about her because they miss her.”
The actress, who took over from Vanessa Kirby to play the royal in seasons three and four of the show, gave some insight into Margaret, “She wasn’t tough at all, she was highly vulnerable, and often attack is the best form of defense.”
“She smoked throughout her life and she drank. It was like she didn’t have the extra layer of skin… She just couldn’t feign, which is an appalling lack when you are famous and you have to meet all these people. Whatever was in her head popped out of her mouth. She was like a time bomb.”
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in August, Carter revealed the time she met Princess Margaret, “My uncle was actually very close to her… She was pretty scary. At one point, she met me at Windsor Castle and she said, ‘You are getting better, aren’t you?’”
The actress added she believed she was referring to her acting ability, “I presume that’s what she meant.”
Olivia Colman takes over as Queen Elizabeth II, Tobias Menzies will star as Prince Philip and Josh O’Connor will play Prince Charles.
The Crown season three will premiere on November 17 on Netflix.