The Crown’s Kate has pipped Meghan to be a new face of Dior
Just like the Princess, she’s a Berkshire private school girl who loves hockey and tennis. And now...
SHE has enviable brunette hair, was born and brought up in Berkshire, and has a serious passion for team sports lacrosse, hockey, tennis and netball.
These facts alone make actress Meg Bellamy a thoroughly fitting choice to play Kate Middleton in the forthcoming series of The Crown.
The highly-anticipated final season of the Netflix drama had its premiere last night and all eyes were on Meg and her co- stars as they made their red carpet debut in Los Angeles.
Dazzling Meg arrived in a black silk, bejewelled Stella McCartney dress while Ed McVey, who plays Prince William, opted for Valentino. Luther Ford – the young actor who plays Prince Harry – went for a more edgy look in a ruched vest, wide-legged trousers and an earring.
The trio, who posed at the Westwood Regency Village Theatre along with Elizabeth Debicki, the actress who portrays Princess Diana, are now on the verge of superstardom – and everything that comes with it.
But we can reveal that, in a case of life truly imitating art, Meg has something else in common with the Princess of Wales. Before she has even been seen on screen, 21- year- old Meg has become a firm favourite of the fashion world. She has already pulled off a deal that would be the envy of Kate’s nemesis Meghan Markle: becoming a face of French fashion house Dior, with all the perks that entails.
That’s not all: Cartier, Valentino and Jaguar are all deeply enamoured with Meg Bellamy. In further signs that her lifestyle has become fit for a princess, she’s been a guest at some of society’s most glittering events. One Netflix insider tells me: ‘They have been queuing up for Meg, she is playing the most famous woman in the world in a globally famous television drama, so many labels and brands want some of that. She is a total unknown, but she is being treated like Kate, an A-list princess.’
And it’s not just privately educated Meg who has been catapulted to celebrity before even hitting our screens. The actors who will play William and Harry alongside her – McVey, 22, and Ford, 21 – are being similarly garlanded with
front rows, red carpets and freebies galore. Indeed, the trio have been attending high-profile parties together in what appears to be an attempt to visually recreate the once strong bond between their royal characters.
This is no accident, I can reveal. Sources tell me Netflix bosses have been devising what appears to be a carefully orchestrated glitzy campaign for their new series – an attempt to package series six as the Kate, Wills and Harry years, and deflect from the controversial recreation of Diana’s death.
So keen have they been to move the focus of the sixth and final series of the royal drama – which will show Princess Diana’s death in Paris in 1997 and end in the early 2000s when Kate and William started their romance – that executives at the streaming giant have determined to raise the profile of the trio off-screen, too.
A source close to the show said bosses are all too aware that the days when William, Kate and Harry regularly joshed each other affectionately in public are beloved by fans of the Royal Family – and so could be lucrative catnip, not just for The Crown’s viewers, but for big brands.
The source said: ‘It is a time the British public loved to watch, the three of them looked so close and so happy. Kate shared such a lovely bond with Harry and they were seen as the future of the royal family.
‘And it isn’t just Netflix making the most of those happy and popular times, but the fashion world too.’
Because if you can’t get the real Kate to model for you, her doppelgänger from one of the world’s biggest TV shows is the next best thing.
And so you have Meg Bellamy being given a prestigious spot on the front row of Dior’s couture show in July where she was treated by Dior executives as if she really was royalty.
Her work is likely to have already earned her hundreds of thousands of pounds. That the ‘fake Kate’ has developed such close links to Dior is likely to be galling for the real-life Meghan, who was not signed up as an ambassador for the label early this year, despite claims both sides wanted to work together.
Meg – an unknown who won her role after sending a video audition tape into Netflix – has also been lured by Cartier and regularly posts about the brand. Valentino also wants to work with her, and she has also found herself working with luxury car brand Jaguar. Add to this that she was dressed by Prada for a recent magazine interview, while she wore Gucci for another promotional campaign – all documented on her Instagram account – and you can see how striking her rise to the top is.
Quite a feat for someone who, bar a few drama productions at her former £10,000-a-year St Crispin’s School in Wokingham, has no acting training or experience.
Royal links are evident in her socialising too: Vanity Fair magazine asked her to be their VIP guest at the Chelsea Flower Show in May. And Meg was a guest of honour at the BAFTA awards – the patron of which is the Prince of Wales – earlier this year.
Meg, however, is modest about the perks she has been showered with, saying: ‘I didn’t even anticipate the fashion side of it. When I got this role I thought it meant that I’d be doing a lot of research and filming. I definitely hadn’t even considered that I’d work with these amazing brands.’
But those brands certainly envisaged working with her – and her male Crown co-stars. Dior, Valentino and Armani have been eagerly dressing McVey and Ford, and Hermes invited the two of them to Paris Fashion Week.
Ford, meanwhile, has been lured by Peugeot cars and was last month wearing Dior as he attended an event for the car brand and GQ magazine.
One insider said: ‘Ed will be a huge star once The Crown gets going, though it is really the first time that actors like this are given such a profile by labels before they have even been seen on the telly.’
Indeed, the social media experts at these labels have undoubtedly found a successful strategy.
Meg and Ed each have around 9,000 followers on Instagram and Luther 1,400. When The Crown begins this Wednesday, that number is expected to increase dramatically, and the interest in the threesome will mean that those fashion labels will be potentially seen by millions. Meg in particular will undoubtedly become an overnight star.
Last year she filmed scenes with Ed, showing how William and Kate’s relationship blossomed after meeting at St Andrew’s University.
There was plenty of similar youthful excitement when Meg, McVey and Ford were seen in July, promoting the high-end jewellery Cartier at the Goodwood Festival for Speed. Meg captioned the picture on her Instagram ‘Old Chums’ and McVey shared the same picture and wrote, ‘More time with these two,’ and completed it with a red heart emoji.
One source tells me: ‘It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the three of them are out and about together and sharing their friendship on social media.
‘It really is like the real-life story when Harry would hang out with Kate and William, in the days before he met Meghan.’ It’s certainly clever PR. With the once tight-knit young Royals recreated by their photogenic lookalikes, the Princess’s death won’t be the only thing the show’s viewers will be talking about.
‘The three are going out and about together’