Helena Bonham Carter was interviewed in London at Annabel’s for Town & Country’s first-ever digital cover. Here she shares how Princess Margaret remained true to herself, her family connection to Princess Margaret, how her meeting went with Margaret’s former flame Roddy Llewellyn, and how she’s felt Hollywood change for women after 40.
On how Princess Margaret was always true to herself: “She couldn’t pretend to be anything but herself, so in a way she was honest and authentic, but unfortunately also incredibly rude.”
On her family connection to Princess Margaret: “My uncle courted Margaret at one point. They went on to become good, longtime friends. She would be at his parties, and you were very aware that a princess was there. I remember going, ‘I mustn’t turn my back on her, I mustn’t turn my back on her.’”
On meeting with Princess Margaret’s former lover, Roddy Llewellyn: “He was amazing. He came to visit, and I immediately knew why he was a good thing for her. He’s fun, and there’s something very free about him. She even gave him a bracelet in the shape of a life preserver. I think that’s what they felt they did for each other.”
On Princess Margaret’s obsession to be taller than she was: “She didn’t have a complex about being number two, she had a complex about being short. That’s why she wore the Poltimore Tiara, which was at least four inches tall, at her wedding. She even had the seat of her car raised so that she could be visible. The risk that she might be literally overlooked was the problem, not the fact that she was her sister’s younger sister.”
On wondering if Princess Margaret would be happy she played her: “One of her idiosyncrasies was complimenting somebody and putting them down at the same time. She once said to me, ‘Oh, you’re getting so much better at acting,’ and I thought that was really funny. Now, I think she’d be grateful that I was getting better, since she’s been entrusted to me. If I was a shit actress, it would be like, ‘Oh no, not her!’”
On how Hollywood has changed for women: “When I grew up, you were kind of extinct at 40—and the parts weren’t very interesting. It was always the girlfriend or the wife, and you were described in terms of what you looked like. I remember having such a complex because I thought I’d never work in Hollywood because I’ve got fat legs. Now it doesn’t matter.”
[Photo Credit: Louie Banks/Town & Country Magazine]