Cape Town - She’s one of the world’s most sought-after actresses yet there was a time Helena Bonham Carter thought she’d never make it in Hollywood due to her "fat legs".
The 53-year-old – who’s set to star as Princess Margaret in the highly-anticipated third season of The Crown – made the revelation during an interview with Town and Country’s first ever digital issue where she spoke candidly about ageing in the biz.
“When I grew up, you [actresses] were kind of extinct at 40 – and the parts weren’t very interesting.
“It was always the girlfriend or the wife, and you were described in terms of what you looked like. I remember having such a complex because I thought I’d never work in Hollywood because I’ve got fat legs. Now it doesn’t matter.”
That is clearly not the case nowadays with older actresses such as Nicole Kidman, Sharon Stone and Helen Mirren very much in demand.
Helena also revealed she had a personal connection with the late royal, who was the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II. Her uncle once courted Princess Margaret before going on to become good friends.
"She would be at his parties, and you were very aware that a princess was there. I remember going, ‘I mustn’t turn my back on her, I mustn’t turn my back on her’," the Les Misérables star explained.
Helena says the one time they met, the notoriously direct royal, who died in 2002 aged 71 after suffering a stroke, gave her a backhanded compliment.
"One of her idiosyncrasies was complimenting somebody and putting them down at the same time.
"She said to me, 'Oh, you’re getting so much better at acting,' and I thought that was really funny."
Of how she thinks Margaret would’ve reacted to her playing her on TV, she says, "I think she’d be grateful that I was getting better, since she’s been entrusted to me. If I was a sh*t actress, it would be like, ‘Oh no, not her’."
Just like Margaret, Helena has embarked on a romance with a man much younger than her – 32-year-old writer Rye Dag Holmboe. But don’t call him her toyboy.
"Everybody ages at a different rate,” she told The Times. “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’s no consequence, it’s all just for fun."
Fans of The Crown only have a few days of waiting left before the new season kicks off on the 17 November on Netflix.