The Crown: Lesley Manville to replace Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in Netflix drama

July 02, 2020

Lesley Manville has signed up to play Princess Margaret in the fifth and final series of The Crown.

The 64-year-old says she "could not be happier" to join the cast of the royal Netflix drama, which follows the Queen's life from 1947.

Largely based on historical accounts, the fifth season will focus on the monarch's reign into the early 21st century.

Manville will replace actress Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen's younger sister.

Vanessa Kirby played the young Margaret, prior to Bonham Carter.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Imelda Staunton would play the Queen in the new series, following in the footsteps of Olivia Colman and Claire Foy.

Manville and Staunton - who are both Oscar-nominated actresses - have previously worked together in several Mike Leigh films as well as the Disney Maleficent franchise.

Both also star in the current BBC adaptation of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, albeit in single-women episodes.

In a statement on The Crown's Twitter page, the Mum actress wrote: "I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret.

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"The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don't want to let the side down.

"Furthermore, to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy."

Princess Margaret died in 2002 at the age of 71, following a series of strokes.

The fourth series of The Crown, featuring X-Files star Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, will air on Netflix later this year.

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