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The Crown’s Lesley Manville on Reconsidering Princess Margaret

“I hadn’t seen myself as Margaret for a nanosecond,” says Lesley Manville. But that every one modified when the actress met Peter Morgan, the creator of The crown, for tea. “It all happened out of the blue,” says Manville. “My agent called me and said, ‘Peter’s inviting you over to his house to talk about gambling…’ and I was like, what’s she going to say.” But one assembly with Morgan was sufficient to persuade Manville that that it was the correct resolution. “I was incredibly excited after that,” she says, “and for weeks I would wake up in the morning and be like, oh god, yes, I get to play Princess Margaret!”

However, that was only the start of Manville’s journey. Almost two years after assembly Morgan, filming started on the fifth season of The crown— is now airing — so she’s had greater than sufficient time to organize. “Two years is enough time to read all the books, watch all the documentaries and just record everything,” she says. “Not in any rigid or methodical way, just to get this woman’s taste.”

Manville learn books like Craig Brown’s Ninety-nine glimpses of Princess Margaret and Anne Glenconners ready girl to get a really feel for the princess – performed by Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter in earlier seasons of the present – and determine how you can painting her within the tumultuous Nineties royal household.

Lesley Manville Princess Margaret The Crown

Lesley Manville performs Princess Margaret within the fifth and sixth seasons of The crown. The actress additionally just lately starred within the lead function Mrs. Harris goes to Paris and the TV collection Dangerous romances. Styled by Maya Zepinic.


“The lighter books that show the more humorous, naughty side of Margaret were great because they confirmed everything we already knew about her,” explains Manville. “And of course she moved in artistic circles, so a lot of people I know have dealt with her in their capacity as writers or directors, and I’ve had little insights from them. Of course, I also went back and watched seasons one through four The crown, marveling at what Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter have done. But the task, of course, is by no means to emulate them. I’m hired to do my version of Princess Margaret.”

That’s exactly what she does. As the new season progresses (the current cast will play the same characters in the sixth and final episode), Manville’s Margaret – along with many other characters – will enter a new chapter in her life. She’s no longer the carefree young tabloid sensation or the good evening of her sister’s staid monarch, but a woman in her sixties grappling with a changing world, turbulent family life, and more than a little painfully focused hindsight.

In an early episode of this season, the series envisions a reunion between Margaret and her former beau Peter Townsend (played by Timothy Dalton) that is both heartwarming and wistful. “She reconnects with Townsend — which I think happened, but obviously it was dramatized — and there’s actually a tender side to her,” says Manville. “Here is this woman who is getting a little dizzy from meeting this man who loved her dearly. He’s still dashing and handsome and you look at the two of them performing that dance and the little flashbacks to Vanessa Kirby bursting into his office and kissing him and then they cut back to them 40 years later and think of a life it might have been.”

Lesley Manville the Crown Princess Margaret

Timothy Dalton as Peter Townsend and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret in The Crown.


It’s not Margaret’s only moment to get introspective. With much of the season’s drama stemming from the wartime troubles of the Queen’s children – principally Charles, played by Dominic West – Margaret wonders what her own life would have been like if her relationship with Townsend hadn’t been upended by her sister would.

“In the last scene of the episode, Margaret actually goes to see the Queen, but the great thing about this scene is that it’s not really a scene about Elizabeth the Queen and Margaret the Princess, it’s a scene about two sisters who have things to settle.” , says Manville. “It tells the story of the depth of their love; Margaret and Elizabeth were a great love story in their own right.”

This is the story informed by the creators of The crown understanding requires a sure form of expertise. “Margaret is kind of a favorite of all of us,” says producer Suzanne Mackie. “We’ve always loved Margaret, from Vanessa Kirby to Helena Bonham Carter. She’s just such a smart, irreverent, smart, compassionate, all-seeing, all-knowing woman that instills an air of danger and eccentricity — and Lesley Manville is one of my all-time favorite actresses. She is incredible and has such reach. You can’t take your eyes off her.”

Like each actor on the present, Manville is open to the truth that it is a real-life dramatization, however after spending years working on it, she additionally understands why The crown has turn out to be such a success. “The wonderful thing about it The crown tells the stories none of us know,” she explains. “Peter Morgan can use his creativeness to transcend what the general public is aware of concerning the royal household. It’s straightforward to determine how the royal family runs on a day-to-day foundation and what it has and hasn’t performed, however what you do not know is how all of those occasions are affecting this household on a deeply private and personal degree. And that is what The crown might.”

LONDON, ENGLAND 08TH NOVEMBER LESLEY MANVILLE attends The Crowns Season 5 World Premiere at Royal Drury Lane Theater on November 08th, 2022 in London, England

Lesley Manville, seen here at the season five premiere of The crownShe plays Princess Margaret in the series.

Jeff Spicer//Getty Images
princess margaret visits the new docklands in london uk july 1987 photo by tim grahamgetty images

The real Princess Margaret, seen here in 1987, died in 2002.

Tim Graham//Getty Images

Of course sometimes real life finds a way to seep in. During the filming of season six, Queen Elizabeth died, and while her death won’t affect the arc of the series – which aims to wrap up well before today – there were the people who made it The crown Break.

“Imelda Staunton [who plays the Queen] and I truly filmed the day she died,” says Manville. “We had been performed for immediately and I used to be house once we obtained the announcement right here on the information. The suddenness was fairly surprising. And then there have been my private emotions about it – an excellent unhappiness – in addition to a form of totally different unhappiness than the collective feeling we had The crown. But the concept we might do something otherwise as a result of the Queen died is form of not the purpose.”

the crown netflix princess margaret lesley manville

Lesley Manville discovered inspiration for the function of Princess Margaret in books concerning the late Queen, in addition to within the performances of her predecessors in The Crown.

Keith Bernstein

Indeed, it is about doing as a lot as doable with Princess Margaret – who herself died in 2002 – whereas she will. “I can show people a side of Margaret along with the side that we know about her,” says Manville. “I think she’s the most delicious person to play because there’s this wild, crazy side to her that says, ‘Let’s be naughty, let’s smoke too much and drink too much.’ I love all of that about her. But what these scripts have given me is an opportunity to tell the story of a woman in her 60s who is living a difficult life.”

She continues: “Margaret was this world well-known, glamorous girl who was so iconic and adored, however how does she cope with that? Her line to the throne has slipped, she is partnerless. So I hope that not solely on this season, but additionally in season six, audiences will see how a lady tries to return to phrases with the remnants of her life and the way her life was formed exterior of her management. She had no autonomy and she or he pays a worth for that.”

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