Fashion Meg Bellamy: Before I got the role as Kate...

Meg Bellamy: Before I got the role as Kate Middleton in The Crown, I was a red brick at Legoland

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Approaching Meg Bellamy in a coffee shop in the shadow of Windsor Castle, I feel for a split second as though I might be about to sit down with the Princess of Wales. Bellamy plays Kate Middleton in the sixth, and final, season of The Crown. With her long, shiny brown hair, grey polo neck and barefaced English rose prettiness, Bellamy could as easily be Kate, who lives at nearby Adelaide Cottage, stopping for a post-school-run caffeine hit, as a 21-year-old up-and-coming actor about to star in one of the most successful television shows of the century.

Until I spot her boots, that is. Where Kate mostly sticks to rural tasselled Penelope Chilvers riding boots (a style with which she’s so synonymous that Meg wore a replica pair during filming), Bellamy is sporting a light tan vegan cowboy version, which she found on Depop. She may later tell me that she’s just finding her feet, style-wise, but I sense that the young woman who was working at Legoland before she got the call from Netflix, might have a little more natural inclination to experiment than our ever-elegant future queen.

Indeed, since she was chosen as one of The Crown’s next generation of breakout stars, alongside Ed McVey as William and Luther Ford as Harry, Bellamy has become a fashion darling, too. She wears Gucci watches and jewellery throughout this shoot, was spotted front row at Dior, and has attended events hosted by Cartier and Vanity Fair.

‘I didn’t even anticipate the fashion side of it,’ she says, eyes wide with the genuine amazement of someone who five minutes ago was shopping from bargain high-street shops. ‘When I got this role, I thought that meant that I’d be doing a lot of research and filming, I definitely hadn’t even considered that I’d be working with these amazing brands.’ It’s in this fashion capacity that Bellamy is talking to Luxury.

Gold ring, £1,200, Gucci, as before. Wool-cashmere sweater, £1,450, and cashmere knickers, £450, both Ferragamo

Besides their glossy girl-next-door good looks, the Princess of Wales and Bellamy have a few remarkable things in common despite their 20-year age gap. Both women were brought up largely in the Royal County of Berkshire, and both were enthusiastic all-rounders at school.

Bellamy, who attended St Crispin’s school in Wokingham, tells me she loved team sports, while Kate is known to have dabbled in lacrosse, hockey, tennis and netball during her time at St Andrew’s prep school, near Pangbourne, and Marlborough College. Drama played a big role for them both, too; Kate starred as Eliza Doolittle in one school production of My Fair Lady, while Bellamy was cast as Sandy in Grease. They both like to be as private as possible, with Bellamy preferring to keep mum about her family and relationship status.

Bellamy depicts Kate during her time at the University of St Andrews in Fife, from 2001 to 2005. This was the early stages of her relationship with Prince William, a time when the now world-famous couple could fly relatively under the radar. We’ll see her recreate standout moments in their trajectory, such as the university fashion show at which the history of art student wore a sheer black skirt hoiked up to create a dress that reportedly made Prince William in the audience exclaim, ‘Wow, Kate’s hot.’

Now hot property herself, Bellamy discusses her rise to fame, her style and the Princess of Wales memory she’ll never forget…

How was your shoot day with Luxury?

I had my own stylist, Felicity [Kay, who also works with young stars including Paul Mescal and Ncuti Gatwa] doing the styling, which makes a huge difference. I’m still figuring out what ‘me’ is in terms of style, but when you put something on and you feel confident, like it’s an expression of yourself, then it must be right. We threw together layered shirts with a Gucci coat over the top – it felt really ‘me’.

How has it been discovering your personal style while in the public eye?

I’m now lucky enough to have the opportunity to wear brands that I never would have dreamt of wearing before. When I had my initial meetings with Felicity, she asked me what kind of things I like wearing and I didn’t really know, just good old H&M and Primark. I really love tailoring, which I never thought would be me. I love a masculine look just as much as a glam dress.

What was your style before you got your role in The Crown?

I used to describe my style as like a grandad, because it was high-waisted trousers and baggy knitwear. That’s just comfort for me.

What are your most treasured pieces of jewellery?

I didn’t wear a lot of jewellery up until I was 16, when I no longer had to wear school uniform. My first watch was by Armani Exchange, I just loved the simplicity of it. I love simple, elegant jewellery. I’m a gold girl right now.

Whose style do you admire?

I love Villanelle from Killing Eve – she’s my go-to style icon. I love her boldness and daring and the big colours and shapes. But then Audrey Hepburn, with her pearls, is definitely up there as well.

Stainless-steel watch with diamond bezel, £3,100, white gold and diamond ring, £2,510, and white gold ring, £845, all Gucci. Cashmere cardigan, £1,210, matching jumper, £1,070, T-shirt, £465, and chiffon skirt, £950, all Miu Miu. Vegan patent flats, £431, Aera New York. Tights, £6.99, Calzedonia

Can you tell me about your childhood and what life was like growing up?

I had a very happy childhood. I was born in Leeds, where I lived for five years, then my parents moved down to Berkshire and I went to school there. I did so much acting growing up. I was always singing and putting on little shows, so my mum decided that I needed an outlet and sent me to the Stagecoach Performing Arts school when I was three or four. I also played netball and other team sports, so it was a really lovely childhood.

There’s lots of men in my family. I’ve got a brother, a half-brother and two stepbrothers, we’re all so close. With all the craziness that’s been taking off in my life, it’s really nice to go and see my little brother, because he doesn’t care, he just wants to play Mario Kart. I go and chill with him whenever I need some normality.

My parents aren’t in the acting industry at all, so they’re very excited about everything that’s happening to me. My dad loves films and my mum and I would go and see theatre shows growing up. We both loved musical theatre, that was always our thing. I would love to be a dancer but sadly I’m very gangly. I do love singing – it’s something I’d still love to do in my career.

What are your earliest memories of acting?

At secondary school I did lots of musical theatre. I played Sandy in Grease, and we did We Will Rock You, where I played Scaramouche. We would spend six months of the year rehearsing then we’d put on [the performances] in June and July. It was always a highlight of my year. I would wait for the bell at the end of the day, so we could do two hours of rehearsals after school.

You became head girl at school. What was that like?

Yes, I was elected, it felt very important. But I loved it. Mainly because if there was a project you wanted to start or a charity you wanted to work with, you got to speak to everyone, from the year sevens to the headteacher. There was a real sense of community and togetherness.

Gold watch, gold bracelets, and gold ring, all price on request, and wool neoprene coat, £3,890, all Gucci. Vegan patent sandals, £464, Aera New York. Knee-highs, £2.50, Calzedonia

What was life like before The Crown came along?

I had left school and I was working at Legoland, which was the best job ever. I didn’t have an agent at the time so I was just doing everything that I could on my own, self-submitting for student films and shorts. Then in April last year, the opportunity [for The Crown] popped up on my Twitter, and at the same time my neighbour sent it to me and told me that I should go for it. She’d just seen it and she thought that I looked like Kate.

In the first round of auditions you had to say something about yourself and tell them your height. I told them I was a red brick at Legoland – that was my fun fact. I remember looking at the picture of Kate on the brief and trying to work out exactly where she’d applied her bronzer so that I could do it exactly right, trying to unleash my inner make-up artist.

With every audition, I just watched and watched [Kate]. Reading about her and listening to her was so important both before and during. During the time period that I play her, there’s no recording of her speaking so you have to picture her younger.

Had you been told before that you look like Kate Middleton?

No, not at all. I never got that and I still think maybe I don’t, but with the amazing hair and make-up teams and the costume department, once everything’s put together, you have to have an essence.

What has it been like being thrust into the spotlight?

The filming period was strangely normal, because it’s such a well oiled machine. It’s quite a calm atmosphere so you don’t feel like everybody is looking at you and thinking, ‘Don’t let us down.’ The biggest change has been going to fashion shows, because they can be pretty crazy. That’s definitely more of a culture-shock, pinch-me spectacle, much more than The Crown ever felt like.

Speaking to you now, before The Crown has come out, I can still walk around and no one knows who I am. But I think the biggest time I noticed that was when we filmed in St Andrews; that was pretty intense. It’s a small place, and we were the talk of the town.

Stainless-steel watch with diamond bezel, £3,100, Gucci, as before. Padded-shoulder trench, £311, The Frankie Shop. Cotton shirts, £95 each, and poplin boxers, £55, all With Nothing Underneath. Leather Mary Janes, £120, Vagabond. Cotton socks, £4, Calzedonia, as before.

Had you watched the show before you got the part?

I watched season one when it came out. It was so beautiful. Claire Foy and Matt Smith and the rest of the cast were just absolutely magnificent.

Which actors do you look up to?

So many people! I love Elisabeth Moss. I watched her in The Handmaid’s Tale and I remember that feeling like a revelation of acting for me. There are so many close-up shots of her, and she’s conveying everything with just a blink, I remember that absolutely blowing my mind. I love Olivia Colman. I love Jodie Comer – I saw her in Prima Facie, it was the best piece of theatre I’ve seen.

In the show you’re going to be at university. Is that something you have considered for yourself at all?

I definitely considered university and almost expected it because it’s the normal route pushed on people nowadays. It was only when people I knew started going to drama school that the seed was planted that maybe this is something I can pursue. I thought, I’m going to do acting and try really, really hard. My mum was so supportive, which makes such a difference. I went for it and it was the right place, right time for this audition.

What were your perceptions of the Royal family when you were growing up?

I was definitely aware of them. I’m not sure I had any really strong feelings about them. But I remember key events, like Kate and Will’s wedding. I was at home and my mum had a little party. Us kids were more interested in the cake but I remember saying, ‘Tell me when they kiss, tell me when they’re on the balcony.’ I sat watching the TV and was totally in awe of her, like we all were. Now I can now look back on it and think, ‘Ahhh…’

What are your plans for the future?

I would love to keep working and build up some momentum on screen. It’s just been really nice, auditioning and just reading scripts again. I’d definitely like to do more of this.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’ve taken up running recently. If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said I’ll never run anywhere. But I find it’s such a sense of achievement to have a distance or race in mind, and then complete it. It keeps your mental health in check. I love it.


Top image details: Gold necklace, gold watch, and gold bracelets, all price on request, gabardine trench, £2,700, cotton shirt, £710, and denim jeans, £890, all Gucci.

Photographs by Clay Stephen Gardner.  Styling by Felicity Kay. Hair: Stefan Bertin. Make-up: Gina Kane at Caren Agency, using Aēsop and Victoria Beckham Beauty. Nails: Chisato Yamamoto at Caren Agency, using Dior Vernis Collection and Miss Dior Hand Cream. Photographer’s assistant: James Stopforth. Stylist’s assistant: Dani Kleinman


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