Lesley Manville admits it’s ‘easier’ portraying a cleaner than it was playing Princess Margaret

‘That was the life I knew’: Lesley Manville admits it’s ‘easier’ portraying a working class cleaner in her new role than it was taking on the role of Princess Margaret in The Crown

Lesley Manville has revealed that it was easier to play the title role in new film Mrs Harris Goes To Paris than portraying Princess Margaret in The Crown.

The actress, 66, took on the role of Ada, a cleaning woman, in the heartwarming film, which is an adaptation of the beloved 1958 Paul Gallico novel.

While she has also taken over the role of Princess Margaret from actress Helena Bonham Carter in the next season of The Crown, which will be released in November. 

Varied roles: Lesley Manville has admitted that it's 'easier' portraying a working class cleaner in her new role than it was taking on Princess Margaret in The Crown (pictured in new film Mrs Harris Goes To Paris)

Varied roles: Lesley Manville has admitted that it’s ‘easier’ portraying a working class cleaner in her new role than it was taking on Princess Margaret in The Crown (pictured in new film Mrs Harris Goes To Paris)

Explaining that the role of the cleaner was more relatable, she told The Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff: ‘It is in my bones. That was the life I knew, because I had working-class parents.’

Continuing: ‘It’s been more of a stretch when I’m playing someone like Princess Margaret, because I had no knowledge of that life.’

The film, out in the UK next month, tells the story of widowed Ada, a hard-working housekeeper who decides she wants to spend her life savings on a Dior dress, after seeing one being worn by a wealthy client.

'In my bones': Explaining that the role of the cleaner was more relatable, she told The Daily Mail's Alison Boshoff: ‘It is in my bones. That was the life I knew, because I had working-class parents'

‘In my bones’: Explaining that the role of the cleaner was more relatable, she told The Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff: ‘It is in my bones. That was the life I knew, because I had working-class parents’

Adaptation: The actress took on the role of Ada, a cleaning woman, in the heartwarming film, which is an adaptation of the beloved 1958 Paul Gallico novel

Adaptation: The actress took on the role of Ada, a cleaning woman, in the heartwarming film, which is an adaptation of the beloved 1958 Paul Gallico novel

She scrimps and saves (and gambles at the dog track) to raise enough money and finally arrives at Dior’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters, where she charms everyone.

The fairy tale is complete when she moves to Paris and starts making some changes — for the better — at the fashion house.

Lesley reflects: ‘I didn’t know the book at all. It came to me as an offer, so it was nice to read it, knowing it was mine if I wanted it.’

Royalty: While she also portrays Princess Margaret (right) in the next season of The Crown

Difficult: 'It’s been more of a stretch when I’m playing someone like Princess Margaret, because I had no knowledge of that life,' explained Lesley

Royalty: While she also portrays Princess Margaret (right) in the next season of The Crown

Third and final: She will continue on the role from Helena Bonham Carter, who was the second actress to play the princess - after Vanessa Kirby

Third and final: She will continue on the role from Helena Bonham Carter, who was the second actress to play the princess – after Vanessa Kirby

And the actress got on so well with her co-star Isabelle Huppert that the pair are now thinking about doing a play together, explaining: ‘She’s got such style, which appeals to me, because we both love clothes.’

She admitted she ad-libbed various lines in the film, including exclaiming ‘Gordon Bennett!’ and observing that things had gone ‘t**s up’ — both of which may prove slightly puzzling for international audiences.

It’s a busy year of releases for Lesley, with her portrayal of Princess Margaret in The Crown finally set to hit Netflix – after being announced in 2020.

Taking over from Helena, who took the role from Vanessa Kirby – Lesley will be the final actress to play the royal, as the show reaches its last two seasons. 

At the time the role was announced, the actress gushed: ‘I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret. The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don’t want to let the side down.’

On-screen: Mrs Harris Goes To Paris, which is out in the UK next month, tells the story of widowed Ada, a hard-working housekeeper who decides she wants to spend her life savings on a Dior dress, after seeing one being worn by a wealthy client (pictured in the film)

On-screen: Mrs Harris Goes To Paris, which is out in the UK next month, tells the story of widowed Ada, a hard-working housekeeper who decides she wants to spend her life savings on a Dior dress, after seeing one being worn by a wealthy client (pictured in the film)

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