Lesley Manville has been cast as Princess Margaret in 'The Crown'.

The 64-year-old actress is poised to succeed Helena Bonham Carter as the British royal in the fifth and final series of the Netflix drama.

A source told The Sun newspaper: ''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'.

''Although several big names are in the frame, producers have only signed up Lesley and Imelda Staunton, who will play the Queen.''

The duo previously starred together in 'Vera Drake', 'Maleficent' and 'Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil'.

Meanwhile, Lesley recently expressed her sympathy for young actors amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The veteran star observed that many performers are not as affluent as the public may assume, and revealed she'd lent her support to the Equity Benevolent Fund, which offers help to actors during the health crisis.

She said: ''I really feel for young actors at the moment, who are just getting going.

''They're now stuck in this real kind of critical situation that we can't see at the moment quite how we are going to get out of.''

Lesley also expressed fears for the entertainment industry more broadly.

She asked: ''Will theatres survive even? And when are we ever going to be in front of a camera again?

''It's just very scary. They've devoted their time to studying and becoming actors, and then suddenly they can't do what they're trained to do.''