Over the past decade or so, we’ve all gotten to know Helena Bonham Carter as a quirky actress who portrays over-the-top characters on the odder side of things. Roles like the Red Queen in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter franchise are often the first to come to mind when you read her name. But this Sunday (November 17), we’ll all be able to tune into Netflix and watch as she takes over a more refined role as Princess Margaret, younger sister of Queen Elizabeth, in the third season of The Crown.
Well, more refined in the sense that Margaret was a member of the royal family who always appeared in the finest gowns, tiaras, and other regal accessories. The late princess wasn’t a stranger to her own idiosyncrasies, though, which we’re sure to watch unravel with Bonham Carter’s performance. The actress and Margaret also happen to have a pretty juicy real-life quality in common.
As fans have already seen on the show, Margaret never had much luck when it came to matters of the heart. Throughout this particular chapter of her life (this season focuses on the royal family’s lives between 1965 and 1976), the 42-year-old princess was separated from her husband and began seeing a 25-year-old named Roddy Llewellyn. Their 17-year age difference quickly became a scandalous source of headline gossip. Bonham Carter, who split from director Tim Burton in 2014, happens to currently be dating a man 21 years her junior. Members of the press were just as quick to label her boyfriend, writer Rye Dag Holmboe, 32, as her “toyboy.”
The actress addressed her annoyance at those headlines while discussing her role as Margaret with The Times in England. “It implies he’s got nothing to offer than his body — which is also fantastic,” she admitted with a laugh. “But along with the body, he’s got a great mind and a great humor and that’s what I’m with more than his envelope.” If only Margaret had the same ability to challenge the press back in her day, but as Prince Harry and Meghan have shown, that’s only been a more recent development for the royal family.
The interviewer also asked if this similarity between her and Margaret helped while filming scenes on the series. Bonham Carter was “momentarily irritated” by the question, but then laughed before explaining, “It was odd timing that I seem to have a similar age gap as her, but I think it would have happened whether I was playing her or not.” She went on to describe Holmboe saying, “Everybody ages at a different rate. My boyfriend is unbelievably mature. He’s an old soul in a young body, what more could you want? People are slightly frightened of older women, but he isn’t. Why can’t we be sexually and romantically attractive just when our eggs are expired?” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Bonham Carter also joked about another moment of life reflecting art before she had even said yes to the role. “When I was originally approached, I said, ‘Can I see the script?’” Creator Peter Morgan told her that not even Olivia Coleman, the Oscar-winning actress taking over as Queen Elizabeth on the series, had asked to see any scripts before accepting it. “I said, ‘This is classic! Already the sibling comparison has started. Well, I’m not Olivia, am I!’” Of course, it all worked out for both actresses, hopefully without nearly as much tension as the dramatic series has hinted at between the fictionalized sisters in the upcoming season.
We can’t wait to see how the series tackles Margaret and the rest of the royal family’s stories with each new episode!