English actress Lesley Manville to play Princess Margaret in Netflix series The Crown

Lesley Manville will star in Netflix series The Crown's fifth season, as Princess Margaret. PHOTO: ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY/INSTAGRAM

LONDON - Oscar nominee Lesley Manville will join the cast of Netflix's historical drama The Crown, as Queen Elizabeth II's feisty younger sister Princess Margaret, reported British tabloid The Sun.

The 64-year-old will take over the role in the series' fifth season, which is expected to be released in late 2021. The character was played by fellow English actresses Vanessa Kirby (season one and two) and Helena Bonham Carter (season three).

A TV insider said: "Lesley is hugely respected by the creators of The Crown and was their first choice to play Princess Margaret this time. They wanted a star who could tackle the difficult role of a royal entering one of the darkest periods of her life, when the Windsors faced endless scandals and she was dogged by ill health.

"That's why Lesley was one of the first actors they approached to join the new cast and remains one of the few who has fully committed to The Crown."

The actress is best known for her lead role in the British sitcom Mum (2016 to 2019) and for starring in several films by award-winning English film-maker Mike Leigh. She was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 2018 for the American historical drama Phantom Thread (2017).

The fifth season of The Crown is expected to pick up from the British royals' story from around 1990, when the late Princess Margaret, who was wracked by ill health in her later years, was 60.

The season will cover the period when she scalded her feet in a bath in 1999, which resulted in her occasionally having to use a wheelchair. She also suffered a series of strokes that left her with partial vision and paralysis. She died at age 71 in February 2002, a day after she had another stroke.

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