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You may know Vanessa from her TV projects like «The Frankenstein Chronicles» or «The Hour»; her movie projects «About Time» or «Kill Command»; or her most acclaimed project «The Crown». Follow our site for her latest news and we will assure you will never miss anything about Vanessa´s career!

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Photoshoots > 2016 > Set 016 for Elle.com

The Crown‘s star shows us how to be a royal. (source)

Heavy is the head that wears the crown—or so the saying goes. But being adjacent to England’s monarch is not for slouches, either. For Vanessa Kirby, tackling the role of Queen Elizabeth’s rebellious sister Princess Margaret in Netflix’s lavish new series The Crown has been an astounding journey through history, psychology, and fame.

Kirby is no stranger to iconic roles: As well as taking on The Crown‘s fascinating princess, she’s played Estella in the BBC’s 2011 production of Great Expectations and Stella Kowalski in the National Theatre’s A Streetcar Named Desire. We spoke to the English actress about learning to be royal, those incredible costumes, and what it’s like to play one of the “amazing human beings” who have such an enduring place in our hearts and in the public eye.

Were you interested in the royal family growing up?

I didn’t have a relationship with them particularly—I learned all about the monarchy and the kings and queens of history and I love that element to it. It’s so much a part of who we are and our national identity. In terms of our queen, I guess because she’s been around for so long—in a way, you sort of take it for granted. So growing up, I was fairly indifferent, I have to admit.

I’m now completely in love with them all. I think they are amazing human beings and my mind has been completely changed. I feel very glad that my mind has been opened and I’m not judgmental of them anymore, and the story will hopefully do the same thing for other people.

Since you weren’t a royal devotee to begin with, what drew you to the character originally?

It’s such an amazing job, this job, because you get to explore such different times and such different historical contexts or psychology. I suppose [it was] the challenge of playing somebody who I didn’t really know anything about, but the more I found out about her, the more she was sort of notorious—in her party girl lifestyle, being the rogue one, and being completely different to her sister. And if I could get into the psychology of Margaret and honor the extraordinary life she lived, it would just be the most amazing challenge in the world and an amazing life experience—which it has been, one of the best I ever could have hoped for. God, I feel so lucky.

What is it like to play a real person who was in the public eye so much and whose life is so thoroughly documented?

It’s definitely daunting. I think that there’s artistic grace in going, “Okay, you’re not exactly her.” But I always feel like that with any kind of biopic, if you capture just the essence of who they are, that’s the most important thing. What is amazing about the series is that you actually get to experience, behind closed doors, what these people went through as well as the bigger picture of the political events happening in their lifetime. So, it was daunting but also really magical because you sort of have to throw it out the window. You know, you worry about it for a second and then through the process you come to find your own version of who she is.

One of the most compelling things about Margaret is her affair with an older, married man, Peter Townsend, which scandalized her family. How did you feel about portraying a such a public but controversial relationship? Did you know much about it?

I read his autobiography, which I loved, and it really gave me an idea of who he was and what kind of man she was looking for—stable and calm and masculine. After her father died it was like she needed somebody, so there’s a dependency there that became greater than just a great love.

I also read some letters between them. I got very emotional because it was very sad…I believe it was the great love of her life. I don’t think she ever really recovered. She waited two and a half years for him when she was young and eligible—as a princess, she could have had any man—and she waited for this much older man, and then it wasn’t allowed to happen. It kills me even now thinking about the fact that she waited; she trusted her sister, and her sister betrayed her.

Margaret was a trendsetter. Was there an outfit in particular that helped you get into the character the most?

There was one for the ambassador’s reception—it was a big moment where suddenly she was stepping in for the Queen. Just before she goes on stage, she asks, “Don’t we have this tiara?” The dresser says, “Oh, well, that’s for the queen.” She says, “Aren’t they expecting a queen, and shouldn’t we be giving them one?” Then she takes the tiara and puts it on her head. She comes out in this beautiful ball gown and gloves, and it really represents the queen that she would have been. I love that one.

I also like the trousers! She wears trousers and bold shirts with bold colors. They are really important, actually, because she would have never worn them in the first few episodes, in the first two episodes particularly. You see this little young 18 year old—these flashes of youth and what she would have been had her father not died. Slowly but surely, this sort of masculine energy and toughness [emerges] and the trousers really helped that because she could really lounge around more. She was such a fashion leader, a complete icon.


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