"It’s like polishing a very non-round lightbulb," says Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret on the new season

By Stephanie Petit
November 13, 2019 09:00 AM

They may have scored regal roles, but Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter liken the royal family’s famous wave to a household chore.

The new stars of The Crownwhich sees Colman taking over as Queen Elizabeth and Bonham Carter playing her younger sister, Princess Margaret — grace the cover of emmy magazine — out Nov. 18 — and share the secret to perfecting the royal wave.

“We call it ‘lightbulb,’ ” Bonham Carter shared. “It’s like polishing a very non-round lightbulb.”

“Actually, I think a lot of it is done so it looks right in a still photograph,” Colman added while doing the motion. “They have to put on a persona at all times.”

Rebecca Miller/Emmy Magazine

The royal sisters had very different points of view on their roles — something the actors have to consider while playing their parts.

“This isn’t meant to be a documentary. It’s a piece of drama,” said Bonham Carter. “There’s a lot of surmise, and we can project whatever we want behind it. It’s up to us to think, ‘What would it be like if you literally have a façade and you have to show so much restraint? What do you do with the rest of your personality?’ Margaret says, ‘Bulls—, you’ve got to be fun. You’ve got to be yourself.’ Elizabeth says, ‘That’s not the point. You’re a sign and a symbol.’ ”

Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman
Rebecca Miller/Emmy Magazine

While the 93-year-old monarch is known for staying steadfast, Colman admitted to letting loose on set — including sending her husband a photo of a prop postage stamp featuring her visage as the Queen.

“That was just… cool,” she recalled. “I got really overexcited. I thought, ‘Quick! Send a picture to my husband.’ All the stuff that I’m probably not allowed to have done, I totally did it.”

One of her rule breaking moments? Swiping a few of those stamps.

“It’s framed in my downstairs loo,” she confessed.

Olivia Colman
Rebecca Miller/Emmy Magazine

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Becoming the Queen meant Colman had to change everything from her posture, noting “the Queen doesn’t sit like I sit, which is basically slumped,” to her accent. But the more the Oscar winner came to know Queen Elizabeth, the more she realized her important role in history.

Helena Bonham Carter
Rebecca Miller/Emmy Magazine

“I didn’t think I was a royalist, and then the more I learn about her, the more I think she’s fucking amazing,” Colman said. “I would not want her job for anything in the world. There are very few humans who make a commitment, who are forced into it, but who go, ‘Okay, I’m going to do it. To the best of my ability. For a lifetime.’ I think we’re going to be all at sea when she’s no longer with us. She’s like a rock.”