The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter says her own public break-up helped her “relate to” Princess Margaret

The actress believes her public split from Tim Burton may have been been one of the reasons she was chosen to tell the story of Princess Margaret's relationship breakdown in The Crown

Helen Bonham Carter The Crown

She’ll have played Princess Margaret on The Crown for two seasons now when the new season airs on Netflix this month – and Helena Bonham Carter believes one of the reasons she was picked to play this role was due to her similar life experiences to the royal.


Back in 1978, Princess Margaret famously divorced her husband the Earl of Snowdon (Antony Armstrong-Jones), shocking the world. Royal marriages were not meant to end in divorce.

Bonham Carter – who took over as Margaret from Vanessa Kirby in season three – suspects that The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan asked her to play Princess Margaret because, just like the princess, she had also gone through a public breakup.

In 2014, Carter split from American filmmaker Tim Burton after 13 years together. The couple made six films during the course of their relationship, and had two children together, although they never officially married.

In an interview with The Guardian, Bonham Carter explained how the experience helped her to “relate” to the royal – and suggested that Peter Morgan, the creator and writer of The Crown, asked her to play Margaret partly because she had the personal experience of going through a very-public relationship break-up.

“It was something I could relate to, that vulnerability,” the actress said. “It’s a horrible thing to be in public and going through a personal fragmentation, and I’ve never been a pretender. The stiff upper lip, I find boring.”

The new series of the period drama, which is set to arrive on Netflix on November 15th, focuses on the next generation of royals – in particular Charles and Diana.

The Crown season 3 Helena Bonham Carter

That means that Princess Margaret will have a somewhat reduced presence in the new season – although Bonham Carter says she doesn’t mind “being marginalised” as it reflects reality of her character’s experience.

“I actually thought it was perfect, because the problem with Margaret is she was marginalised. It was enough for me because, whatever she does, she’s always so totally herself,” she said.

The fourth season of The Crown should take us from 1979 up to about 1990, introducing viewers to Princess Diana, played by Emma Corrin.

We’ll also meet Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher for the first time, as “tensions arise between her and the Queen which only grow worse as Thatcher leads the country into the Falklands War, generating conflict within the Commonwealth.”


You can watch seasons 1-3 of The Crown right now on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, visit our TV Guide, or find out about upcoming new TV shows 2020.