Helena Bonham Carter met Princess Margaret, who she is set to play in Season 3 of The Crown, several times during the Queen’s late sister’s life. But now she’s revealed something surprising about a familial connection to Margaret: the late princess once dated her uncle!
Helena spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about her role on The Crown for the UK edition of the magazine’s latest cover story, and said she remembers going to parties at her uncle’s home and Princess Margaret being there.
“She was a lifelong friend of my uncle Mark,” she said. “He was in the Grenadiers, I think, and he guarded Margaret and Elizabeth at Windsor. And then they met, and I think there was a romance. He was really dashing…”
Mark Bonham Carter and Leslie, Lady St Just after their wedding in 1955. Photo: © Ron Burton/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Mark Bonham Carter went on to become a politician. He ran unsuccessfully for the now-defunct UK Liberal Party in Barnstaple 1945 and was elected in Torrington three years later. He was later made a peer of the House of Lords in 1986. As for the relationship with Margaret, it didn’t last, but the two remained good friends, Helena said, even after he married Leslie, Lady St Just, in 1955.
Helena told the publication she spent hours interviewing Margaret’s friends, including her lady-in-waiting and hairdresser, and even contacted a psychic in an attempt to speak to the late princess.
“I know most people will be like, ‘Oh God, she really is mad,’ but I definitely feel there are energies and people who stick around…” Helena told Harper’s Bazaar.
Princess Margaret and the Queen at Sandringham during Christmas 1992. Photo: © Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images
“My psychic friend said, ‘Oh, Margaret’s here, does that mean anything?’ I said, ‘Can you ask if there are any tips?’ sort of as a joke, and it was actually very useful. She said she was glad it was me, not the other actress they were considering, which is very Margaret… and then she said, ‘You’re going to have to scrub up, you really are.’”
Helena is known for her extensive research before playing roles, and said she had spoken to so many people because she wanted to portray Margaret as accurately as possible.
“I wanted to do her justice,” she said.
MORE: Get some popcorn! The first full-length trailer for Season 3 of The Crown is here
You can see Helena as Margaret when The Crown returns to Netflix for its next season on Nov. 17. In addition to Helena, you’ll be able to watch an all-new cast, including Oscar-winner Olivia Colman as the Queen, Tobias Menzies (Outlander, Rome) as Prince Philip, Marion Bailey (Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Poirot) as the Queen Mother, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne and Jason Watkins as late former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
In other news, Netflix is currently shooting season 4 of the acclaimed series, which will feature Gillian Anderson as late former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, along with Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.