How The Crown’s Helena Bonham Carter Handled Anxiety Over Playing Princess Margaret

The Crown Helena Bonham Carter Princess Margaret Netflix
(Image credit: Des Willie / Netflix)

Helena Bonham Carter will have played Princess Margaret for two seasons when Season 4 of The Crown debuts later this year. Bonham Carter took over the role from Vanessa Kirby, who originated it when the Netflix drama began. It turns out that playing Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister required Bonham Carter to handle some anxiety. How did she do it?

The Crown star has not been shy about taking on some quirky roles during her career, and Helena Bonham Carter has even played real-life people before, including in the 2009 film The King’s Speech, where she played Princess Margaret’s mother. One of the things that Bonham Carter does to set aside her anxiety in playing a role is research, which included meeting those who knew Princess Margaret.

Yes, there was more to Helena Bonham Carter’s preparation for The Crown than getting Princess Margaret’s approval through that psychic. Bonham Carter revealed that she did get her blessing. As for her research in meeting those who knew Princess Margaret in the flesh, she shared that it helped her cope with the anxiety of taking on the role. On the process, Bonham Carter told Variety:

It helps me in my terror — my research is to do with anxiety. It’s like, how can I keep the anxiety at bay until you have day one. Once day one starts, your brain stops worrying, if you work with the right people.

All of Helena Bonham Carter’s research paid off, as she received a 2020 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Princess Margaret on The Crown. Time will tell if Bonham Carter goes back-to-back with another nomination in 2021 after Season 4 premieres.

In the bittersweet world of The Crown, Helena Bonham Carter has already finished filming her time as Princess Margaret. Oscar-nominee Lesley Manville will take over wearing Princess Margaret’s tiara from Bonham Carter for The Crown’s fifth and sixth seasons, but fans still have another season of Bonham Carter’s performance to look forward to. It is a role that she will probably miss. On playing the part, Bonham Carter said:

The gift for me in this part is that it is a part that keeps on giving. It is so complicated and complex. We all want complexity, that’s what we look for in a role, and she’s got so many facets — all contradictory, really. She’s never boring.

Helena Bonham Carter clearly enjoyed her time in the tiara, and mentioned the complexity of Princess Margaret, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 71.  Among the topics covered by The Crown has been Princess Margaret’s fraught relationship with her older sister, Queen Elizabeth II.

Like Helena Bonham Carter, Queen Elizabeth II will also be recast after Season 4, and Imelda Staunton will take over the role from Olivia Colman. Hopefully, fans of The Crown do not have too much longer to wait on Bonham Carter’s final curtsy as Princess Margaret. While Season 5 has hit a delay, the final season is expected to arrive without disruption.

You can stream the first three seasons of The Crown on Netflix. Season 4 is currently expected to be among the streamer’s 2020 premieres. The fifth season is now slated to arrive in 2022. While you wait for Helena Bonham Carter’s last season as Princess Margaret to bow, check out this fall’s schedules to stay entertained.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.