Prince Harry's ex Cressida Bonas gives rare TV interview on 'shocking' new role

The actress is appearing in a new drama

Francesca Shillcock

She's set to appear in White House Farm, a TV adaptation of the Bamber family murders, and Cressida Bonas has opened up on the role she's playing in a rare television interview. The actress, who dated Prince Harry from 2012 to 2014, appeared on Wednesday's Lorraine to discuss the new ITV drama and her experience of playing Sheila Caffell, the adoptive sister murdered by Jeremy Bamber, in the show.

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"I think back then mental illness was treated so differently to how it is now," she began, adding: "And I think that's a really important thing to show, that how nowadays it wouldn't be treated like that." She continued: "If this happened now, she wouldn't have been attacked like that for having a mental illness because now it's talked about in such a different way, and that's so shocking."

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Cressida plays Sheila Caffell in the White House Farm

The 30-year-old went on to discuss the shock she felt while researching the case and Sheila. "I wasn't alive when it happened, so when doing all this research I couldn't believe how she was treated." The role is the actress' first major TV part.

Speaking to the Mirror on the harrowing drama, which also stars Freddie Fox and Stephen Graham, Cressida admitted she was moved to tears during one heart-wrenching moment on set when her character's husband unknowingly waved goodbye to his sons for the very last time. "I remember everyone on set was really quiet during that filming," she said. "I was watching from a window as I wasn't in the scene. That moment really hit me, knowing what was to come. That really stayed with me - I got really emotional. Those are the moments when this story hits home. This is not fiction. It really happened."

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The role is Cressida's first major TV part

The White House Farm murders shocked the nation, and police initially believed that 28-year-old Sheila had shot her parents, Nevill and June, and her own two children, before killing herself. Jeremy was eventually convicted of all five murders, however, although he continues to protest his innocence.

White House Farm starts on Wednesday 8 January at 9pm on ITV.

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