Speaking to Vanity Fair ahead of the Netflix premiere on 14 December, Meg Bellamy discussed what her experience was like assuming the role of the Princess of Wales during college. For the rest of the cast, developing each character, like Prince William and Prince Harry, was a bit easier with years of film to help from their childhood.
However, for Bellamy, playing Kate when she first met the Prince of Wales at St Andrews was more difficult. At the time, Kate was just coming into the public eye, which meant there wasn’t much information about her.
Tasked with playing Kate, Bellamy had to imagine what the royal was like before she and Prince William were married.
“There was a lot of taking how she sounds now, and pitching her voice higher to make her appear younger, and also trying to remove that layer of being a royal,” Bellamy told Vanity Fair. “Looking at her now, she’s always standing up straight, and very poised and elegant, whereas that was probably very different when there were no cameras on her. Trying to remove that layer was a key part.”
Among one of the more crucial and challenging scenes was Kate’s charity fashion show at St Andrews, an irrevocable moment in fashion and history. Not only was the event one of the first times Kate was photographed, but the 2002 show during her freshman year was just as momentous in her relationship with Prince William.
Prince William reportedly paid $275 to sit in the front row and watch Kate strut down the catwalk in a chiffon gown designed by fellow student Charlotte Todd. The garment, which was intended to be worn as a skirt, made Kate’s black underwear and bra visible. Kate’s “no-pants” moment garnered so much attention that Todd’s original design eventually sold for $125,000 at an auction in 2011.
“I was nervous about [that scene] because it felt like a big deal, and filming had felt so relaxed leading up to it,” Bellamy confessed. “This felt like a looming thing.”
The actress had been anticipating filming the scene, worrying about accurately portraying the significance. However, when the time came, Bellamy thought the experience was seamless.
“But the reality was as soon as I got there and understood what the vibe was, it was great. You had Kylie Minogue blasting, and the crowd was cheering, and the director Erik Richter Strand made it so comfortable,” she noted.
According to Bellamy, another aspect of filming that eased her nerves was wearing the dress. Bellamy proclaimed: “It felt really special because it was this iconic look that I knew of growing up.”
Other costumes that made her feel empowered in the role included classic emblems of early 2000s fashion, such as low-waisted jeans and tiny tops.
“It was very helpful, because as much as you think: ‘Well, it’s only 20 years ago, the fashion can’t have been that different’ ... it really was,” Bellamy added. “The low-rise jeans change how you hold yourself, so it was very useful in terms of feeling different and stepping into a character.”
On her role portraying Kate as an individual as much as a counterpart to Prince William, the on-screen star felt proud.
“I think the thing that people love about Kate in real life is her self-assuredness, her authenticity, the way she connects with people. Those were qualities that Peter bestowed upon the character as well,” she remarked.
The final four episodes of the series will be available to stream on Netflix beginning 14 December.