The Very New Life of Meg Bellamy

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The other night, Meg Bellamy went to a premiere where she wore a leather miniskirt and walked down a red carpet alongside Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner. While she was doing that, audiences around the world were pulling up Netflix and seeing her face for the first time as the last episodes of The Crown introduced our new Kate Middleton.

Less than three years ago, Bellamy worked at Legoland Windsor. She loved the job, which gave her a chance to act (she was a red brick) despite having not been accepted into any drama schools. When she was cast as Middleton, her first professional acting role, she quietly resigned from the job and soon began filming the final season of the show. Then there were six quiet months between the show’s production and its airing, when she sat in an in-between state that bridged her civilian life and celebrity one. She describes it as “a weird period, when you’re filming so intensely and then it’s just quiet. But I took up running, I just tried to keep some sort of routine and some things like that.”

This month she entered the next stage. She’s not yet, she says, being recognized on the street, but she’s in interviews, traveling internationally, attending fashion shows and award shows. Her approach to her new life is level-headed. “If you really simplify it, I just have a different job now,” she says.

“[Being cast] just happened so quickly, and I’d only really been out of school for just over a year. It’s so lucky. Definitely now, auditioning again and getting rejected, it’s like, I really did start with the biggest yes you could get. But it’s amazing and even if I never work again, it will be a privilege.”

After receiving the call that she got the role, Bellamy was sworn to secrecy until the official announcement was made. She worked at Legoland for a few more weeks before leaving the job. “It’s really hard to keep secrets. They say don’t tell anyone. I obviously told my mum, and close family. It definitely was hard, especially because I said that I was leaving because I booked a big acting job, and then people start guessing what it is. Somebody actually did guess it, they were like, ‘I remember my sister auditioned for Kate Middleton in The Crown, it’s not that is it?’ I was like, ‘No way. That would be crazy,’” she says. Leaving Legoland was “bittersweet, of course, because I was saying goodbye to a lovely job,” Bellamy says, “but I think sweetness maybe outweighed the bitterness, because of what I was going to.”

meg bellamy

Luc Braquet

Like Kate, Bellamy grew up in Berkshire, England and played net ball. “There’s definitely connections there. But I think that’s what people love about her, that they can connect to those more humble roots, I suppose,” she says. They resemble each other but Bellamy says no one ever mentioned that to her. Maybe because Kate looks similar to many young women, which is perhaps part of her appeal. “In the script her self-assuredness really stuck out to me. I think she just was so easygoing. I really liked that she wasn’t one of the girls screaming at William and falling to his feet, basically. She would only have been friends with him if they get along, and if he’s right for her, and if they have things in common,” Bellamy says. “That was something that I also saw in my research of Kate, that she’s never fussed. It seems like she likes speaking to people and that’s quite a nice energy for me to be able to carry on set.”

Bellamy was in the front row of Dior’s couture show this summer and has worn pieces by Stella McCartney, Huishan Zhang, and Valentino that show a bit more edge that what someone might expect from someone playing a royal. “I’ve been so lucky to go to fashion shows. I went to see the Dior show in Paris, and I saw the pigeon bag at JW Anderson!” she says. She went to the British Fashion Awards earlier this month and loved seeing inside the fashion world. “I guess that aspect I didn’t really anticipate, because you get the role and you think it’s just going to be about acting, but it’s definitely an amazing bonus.”

Is there anything Bellamy wants to make sure hasn’t been missed in her recent round of press? “Gosh, I don’t know. I think there’s a lot about me out there now. I like cooking, is that interesting enough?”

Lettermark

Features Editor

Adrienne Gaffney is the features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.

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