The actress, who dated Harry for two years, from 2012 to 2014, stopped by BBC’s Woman’s Hour radio show to chat about her role in the new play Mrs. Orwell, where she plays the second wife of George Orwell, Sonia.
Discussing the play, which tells the story of on a woman married to a very famous man, the show’s host couldn’t help but ask Bonas about her own experience in a relationship with a well-known bachelor. Bonas said that in the aftermath of her romance with Harry (who recently traveled to Africa to celebrate his now-girlfriend Meghan Markle‘s birthday), she often felt “pigeonholed” into the narrow of definition of being a royal ex-girlfriend.
“Yeah, I think it’s that thing of being pigeonholed,” she said. “Especially in this country, I find people are very quick to put you in a box or put you in a corner and think ‘oh well you’re that so you must be that.'”
Bonas — who is pals with Harry’s cousins Princess Eugenie and Kitty Spencer — said that especially as she’s pursuing a career as an actress, having her past relationship precede her at work can be a lot to handle.
“It’s incredibly frustrating, especially in the industry that I’m in,” she said. However, she seemed to accept that sometimes, people will recognize you for your famous relationships. “But, you know, it is the way it is.”
Though she realizes it’ll happen from time to time, Bonas is committed to showing people there’s a whole other side to her. Her resume backs that up: She’s acted in several plays, as well nabbing roles in the films Tulip Fever (alongside Alicia Vikander and Judi Dench) and The Bye Bye Man.
“It’s about making a stand,” she says. “Saying no, this is who I am and this is what I want to do.”