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By Baz Bamigboye for the Daily Mail
Once upon a time there was a Princess who was more glamorous than her elder sister, who was Queen.
The younger royal was in line to the throne, so she couldn’t marry the man she loved, for fear it would trigger a constitutional crisis.
That princess was Margaret, and the Queen in question is Elizabeth who, later this year, is set to become the longest-reigning British monarch.
Director Stephen Daldry, writer Peter Morgan and their associates have spent six months interviewing scores of actresses to play Margaret in the first two series (20 episodes in total) of The Crown, which charts the reign of our sovereign.
Vanessa Kirby, an award-winning actress, is in the process of doing a deal to portray Margaret in the television blockbuster.
The drama, which will star Wolf Hall actress Claire Foy as Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Philip, if negotiations can be agreed, will begin filming in July.
The first episode will start in 1947, on the eve of the then Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip, at which Margaret, then 17, was a bridesmaid.
Margaret had already met Group Captain Peter Townsend, who was equerry to her father, George VI, and 16 years her senior. Over the next few years they became close — and Captain Townsend, a divorced father of two, asked Princess Margaret to marry him.
By this time, her sister was Queen, so the Princess had to ask her permission. But Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his ministers were opposed to the union, and so a constitutional crisis loomed.
The Crown, which will be screened around the world on Netflix, will be the most extraordinarily intimate drama about the Queen and her family ever made.
The scripts are so incendiary that every copy has been watermarked and numbered. All members of the cast, crew and production must sign non-disclosure agreements.
Casting of many minor roles has been completed, but the parts of the Queen’s parents, King George and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), are still being discussed.
Meanwhile, Kirby has completed a role in The Dresser, the BBC drama starring Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen.
She came to attention as Estella in the BBC’s Great Expectations, and won acclaim last year for her portrayal of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, with Gillian Anderson, at the Young Vic.
By Nellie Andreeva
I’ve learned that Vanessa Kirby (Jupiter Ascending) is in negotiations to play Princess Margaret in The Crown, Peter Morgan’s decades-spanning drama series that explores the inside story of Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s post-war Prime Ministers. The 10-episode first season is slated to premiere on Netflix in 2016.
Inspired by Morgan’s hit award-winning West End Play The Audience, each season of The Crown will explore the political rivalries and personal intrigues across a decade of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, exploring the delicate balance between her private world and public life. As we previously reported, Claire Foy has been in negotiations to play the young Queen.
Season one begins with a 25-year-old Princess faced with the daunting prospect of leading the most famous monarchy in the world while forging a relationship with the domineering, war-hardened Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Netflix would not comment on Kirby’s casting, first reported by DailyMail.
Kirby recently wrapped BBC drama The Dresser opposite Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen. Her other credits include BBC’s Great Expectations and features About Time and Insomniacs.
The Crown is produced by Sony-owned British production company Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures TV. Morgan, Daldry and Harries will serve as executive producers along with Robert Fox and Matthew Byam Shaw.
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