Helena Bonham Carter will portray Princess Margaret during the deterioration of her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones in season 3 of The Crown

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The actress taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth‘s younger sister in The Crown season 3 will portray Princess Margaret as her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones deteriorated — and a romance with Roddy Llewellyn, a gardener-turned-unsuccessful pop star 17 years her junior, blossomed.

Off-screen, 53-year-old Bonham Carter is dating 32-year-old writer Rye Dag Holmboe — mirroring Princess Margaret’s relationship age gap.

Speaking to The Times, the Oscar nominee said that her real-life romance didn’t give her any insight to playing Margaret.

“It’s strange, though,” Bonham Carter said. “It was odd timing that I seem to have a similar age gap as her, but I think it would have happened whether I was playing her or not.”

Helena Bonham Carter
Credit: Dave Benett/Getty

The actress had no concerns about the age difference with her boyfriend — and noted there are perks to dating an older woman.

“Everybody ages at a different rate,” she said. “My boyfriend is unbelievably mature. He’s an old soul in a young body, what more could I want? People are slightly frightened of older women, but he isn’t. Women can be very powerful when they’re older. Why can’t we be sexually and romantically attractive just when our eggs are expired? Actually it’s much more fun because we’re so freed of the terror, there is no consequence, it’s all just for fun.”

Princess Margaret
Roddy Llewellyn and Princess Margaret
| Credit: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty

Bonham Carter and Harry Treadaway, who plays Llewellyn on the Netflix hit, met with Princess Margaret’s eight-year partner, now 72.

“He came to tea with me and Harry, who plays Roddy. He was so fun and warm — that’s what she needed,” she told The Times. “He’s very musical. He started singing a song in my kitchen. He said they found each other just at the right time. They were both very lost, both felt somewhat outsiders, just not quite accepted by the family — or not quite good enough. Her confidence was really undermined by the breakdown of her marriage. He also gave her fun at a time when she hadn’t been having much.”

Bonham Carter also sees similarities between Princess Margaret and Llewellyn’s relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s current situation.

“There was something historic in the way the press laid into Margaret and Roddy. That had never happened,” she observed. “On the whole, up ’til then the royal family had its protection, a gentleman’s agreement with the press. But something happened there.”