She chatted to Princess Margaret's close friends, family and ladies-in-waiting as she prepared to portray her in the two upcoming seasons of The Crown, but according to Helena Bonham Carter, she also got advice from the woman herself, consulting a psychic to put her in touch with the late Princess.
Speaking to The Guardian at the Cheltenham literature festival, Helena explained: "She said, apparently, she was glad it was me.
"My main thing when you play someone who is real, you kind of want their blessing because you have a responsibility.
"So I asked her: '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," Helena told the newspaper.
Adding that this comment, in particular, made her think that perhaps Margaret really was present, "because that is a classic Margaret thing to say.
"She was really good at complimenting you and putting you down at the same time."
Helena says according to the psychic the late sister of Queen Elizabeth also had some words of advice, disclosing: "Then she said: 'But you're going to have to brush up and be more groomed and neater.'
"'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.'"
Helena will be taking over the role of Princess Margaret in The Crown from actress Vanessa Kirby, who won a BAFTA for her portrayal of the late princess, with Helena saying it's "definitely daunting."
The 53-year-old also revealed that she has a much more personal connection to the late Princess, saying she believed her uncle, former MP Mark Bonham Carter, had dated Margaret during his time as a Grenadier Guard at Windsor.
"They always remained good friends," she said.
"I have photos of them together and they look really dashing as a couple… It was definitely pre-Townsend. They remained forever friends."
The connection also meant she had the occasional encounter with Princess Margaret, revealing to Entertainment Weekly in August that she'd met her once at Windsor Castle.
"She was pretty scary. At one point, she met me at Windsor Castle and she said, 'You are getting better aren't you.'"
Helena guessed the royal was referring to her acting skills, "I presume that's what she meant."
Season 3 of Netflix's The Crown is due out on November 17, with a brand new cast portraying the royal family, along with a host of new characters.
Along with Helena Bonham Carter taking over the role of Princess Margaret, Olivia Colman will portray Queen Elizabeth, taking over from Claire Foy; Tobias Menzies will play Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Ben Daniels will portray Lord Snowdon and we will see Erin Doherty as Princess Anne.
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