The Crown has found its final Princess Margaret. The role, which Vanessa Kirby occupied for the Netflix drama’s first two seasons before handing it over to Helena Bonham-Carter in Season 3, will now go to Lesley Manville, who received an Oscar nomination in 2018 for her arch performance as Cyril Woodcock in Phantom Thread.
In a statement posted on The Crown’s Twitter account, Manville wrote, “I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret. 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.”
Netflix announced Staunton as the show’s last Queen Elizabeth in January—at the same time that the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, confirmed that Season 5 would be the period show’s last, despite initial plans to run for longer.
“At the outset I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons,” Morgan said at the time, “but now that we have begun work on the stories for Season 5, it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop. I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision.”
The only question remaining now is how Manville will prepare for her turn as Princess Margaret. After all she’s following up Bonham-Carter, whose preparations for the role included communing with the princess’s ghost. Perhaps the specter can make time for Manville in her busy afterlife as well.