‘The Crown’ Casts Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret for Fifth and Final Season

She will take over the role from Helena Bonham Carter, who is portraying the royal on Seasons 3 and 4

Last Updated: July 2, 2020 @ 7:00 AM

Lesley Manville has been cast as Princess Margaret for the Imelda Staunton-led fifth and final season of “The Crown,” Netflix revealed Thursday.

The Oscar-nominated actress will be taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II’s sister from Helena Bonham Carter, who is portraying the royal on Seasons 3 and 4. Bonham Carter replaced Vanessa Kirby, the actress who played Princess Margaret for “The Crown’s” first two seasons.

Manville is the second star to join the final installment of “The Crown,” with Staunton’s casting as Queen Elizabeth II — a part played by Olivia Colman for Seasons 3 and 4 and Claire Foy for Seasons 1 and 2 — having been announced in January, when Netflix revealed the Peter Morgan-created drama’s fifth season would be its last. At the time, Morgan explained his decision to bring “The Crown” to an earlier end than he had originally anticipated.

“At the outset I had imagined ‘The Crown’ running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season five it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop,” Morgan said. “I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision.”

“I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret,” Manville said in a statement Thursday. “The baton is being pass 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.”

Manville was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2017 film “Phantom Thread.” She is well known to U.K. audiences for both her theater and TV work. Her recent television credits include BBC Two’s “Mum” and Hulu’s “Harlots.”

The upcoming fourth season of “The Crown,” which is expected to debut later this year, will cover Queen Elizabeth and the British royal family during the Princess Diana era. Season 3 of “The Crown,” which launched last November, left off in 1977 at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

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