Princess Margaret’s spirit has something to say! Seventeen years after the princess’s death, Helena Bonham Carter (who plays Margaret on season three of The Crown) Goop-ily contacted the royal family member through a psychic medium to get her blessing for the role. “My main thing when you play someone who is real, you kind of want their blessing because you have a responsibility,” the actress explained at the Cheltenham Literature Festival per The Guardian. And that responsibility includes taking acting tips from a spirit (or from a random psychic medium pretending to be the spirit of the queen’s only sister — it’s player’s choice).
“So I asked her,” Bonham Carter recalled, “‘Are you OK with me playing you?’ and she said: ‘You’re better than the other actress’ … that they were thinking of. They will not admit who it was. It was me and somebody else. That made me think maybe she is here, because that is a classic Margaret thing to say. She was really good at complimenting you and putting you down at the same time.” Tea from beyond the grave? Listening … “Then she said: ‘But you’re going to have to brush up and be more groomed and neater,’” Bonham Carter recounted. “Then she said: ‘Get the smoking right. I smoked in a very particular way. Remember that — this is a big note — the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking.’”
Aside from checking in with a dead person, Helena Bonham Carter did other, serious research on Princess Margaret’s life, including speaking to three of her former ladies-in-waiting, relatives, and close friends. Seems everyone and Princess Margaret’s spirit will be keeping an eye out for a deadly cigarette holder when The Crown returns for season three on November 17.