Cosmopolitan

GIULIA CROUCH: My spooky encounters with (a jolly bossy) Princess Margaret

The Gazette Staff

It’s still early in the morning but I’m already concentrating hard. I’m surrounded by twinkly lights deep in the basement of Selfridges. 

To my left is a shelf stacked with shimmering crystals, while in front of me sits a woman with a kind face and long brown hair. 

We’re trying to talk to Princess Margaret. But so far… nothing.

True, the Princess has been dead for 17 years but that proved no obstacle for actress Helena Bonham Carter, who says she asked the Queen’s late sister for some acting tips just the other day.

Ms Bonham Carter, of course, plays the role of a middle-aged Margaret in the Netflix series The Crown and she told the Cheltenham Literature Festival how, with the help of a medium, she gained some valuable Royal insights into how the Princess should be portrayed on screen.

Giulia Crouch with psychic Angela Jensen, above. Are we too early for the Princess, I wonder? She was a famously late riser, after all. But Jayne is having none of it

Giulia Crouch with psychic Angela Jensen, above. Are we too early for the Princess, I wonder? She was a famously late riser, after all. But Jayne is having none of it

Giulia Crouch with psychic Angela Jensen, above. Are we too early for the Princess, I wonder? She was a famously late riser, after all. But Jayne is having none of it

It’s all about the fags, apparently. ‘Get the smoking right,’ said the spirit of Margaret. 

And according to Ms Bonham Carter, the Princess then continued: ‘I smoked in a very particular way. Remember the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking.’

Can just anyone talk to the Princess? In life it was discouraged unless she spoke to you first. But what about now – in October 2019, in Selfridges?

Jayne Wallace, one of two self-styled ‘Psychic Sisters’ who has worked from the basement of the vast department store in London’s Oxford Street for nearly 15 years and is well respected among fans of the paranormal, is rather doubtful. 

‘The Princess just has no reason to talk to you,’ she explains. ‘Maybe if you had something of hers – a physical object – we could tap into the vibration of the energy. Or if she was your Auntie Marge, that would work. But she’s not and it’s very unlikely she’ll come through.’

According to Ms Bonham Carter, the Princess then continued: ¿I smoked in a very particular way. Remember the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking'

According to Ms Bonham Carter, the Princess then continued: ¿I smoked in a very particular way. Remember the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking'

According to Ms Bonham Carter, the Princess then continued: ‘I smoked in a very particular way. Remember the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking’

She didn’t. Within minutes Jayne, 52, shrugs and says: ‘Nope. I haven’t got anything. I’m just being truthful. You could try with Sue.’

Sue is Jayne’s Psychic Sister. ‘She’s in in half an hour.’

Are we too early for the Princess, I wonder? She was a famously late riser, after all.

But Jayne is having none of it. ‘I work on integrity,’ she continues. ‘If she doesn’t come through, she doesn’t come through. Others might say they’ve got her for a bit of media attention. I won’t do that.’

She had little to say on Royal matters, but Jayne did have some unsettlingly pertinent comments to make about my love life and I leave for my next appointment decidedly discombobulated.

My next meeting is with Philena Bruce, a 69-year-old palm reader and psychic, who lives at the top of an old house in Kensington, West London. She greets me in a flowing chiffon gown paired with green Crocs. 

Does she know something about the future of fashion? The chatter is friendly as we climb a grand stairway to her flat, but as soon as we cross the threshold, the mood changes and strict instructions follow.

‘Take your shoes off and sit down on that chair while I do a few things in the lounge,’ she says. ‘There’s paper on the floor. Don’t move it.’

I do as I’m told and wonder what I’ve got myself in to – aside, that is, from a weird Aladdin’s cave.

There are nicknacks and brightly coloured decorations everywhere, including a stuffed crow dangling from the ceiling.

Every inch of the room is covered. Candles flicker and there are thick, patterned rugs on the floor.

Her landline rings and Philena fusses trying to turn off the answerphone. ‘If I’ve gone into a trance and the doorbell goes, you’ll have to run down those stairs and let them in – it’ll be the mice men. I’ve got mice.’

Mice?

‘They only turn up if the place is completely still,’ she reassures me.

I’m hoping this particular trance is as raucous as possible. I ask where Princess Margaret is. Could she be here at the top of a mansion block, just a few hundred yards from her former grace-and-favour apartment at Kensington Palace?

True, the Princess has been dead for 17 years but that proved no obstacle for actress Helena Bonham Carter, who says she asked the Queen¿s late sister for some acting tips just the other day. Ms Carter is pictured above with Olivia Colman in The Crown

True, the Princess has been dead for 17 years but that proved no obstacle for actress Helena Bonham Carter, who says she asked the Queen¿s late sister for some acting tips just the other day. Ms Carter is pictured above with Olivia Colman in The Crown

True, the Princess has been dead for 17 years but that proved no obstacle for actress Helena Bonham Carter, who says she asked the Queen’s late sister for some acting tips just the other day. Ms Carter is pictured above with Olivia Colman in The Crown

‘She’s anywhere and everywhere,’ explains Philena. ‘She’s on a different vibration length.

‘There is a lot of dark energy around at the moment so it might be painful for her to come through.’ I’m mystified, but continue nodding in agreement.

‘She might or she might not talk to us. It’s not like a telephone service.’

How old is she? Ageless, apparently. ‘When you become a spark of light, age is not relevant,’ explains Philena. ‘It’s a concept of this planet. But often, when spirits appear to people, they present themselves at the age that person remembers them at.

‘If you have an elderly mother who dies and turns up as a ten-year-old, you wouldn’t recognise her. It’s just a matter of getting really relaxed and asking her to turn up.’

So we begin. There’s silence for three or four minutes and I start thinking about the mice – until, finally, it happens.

‘Great sadness!’ booms Philena. ‘That’s the first emotion I get.’

Her eyes are closed and her breathing exaggerated. It looks as though we are in touch with the Princess herself, and she has some startling advice for these uncertain times.

‘She’s saying people ought to have a lot more fun,’ says Philena.

‘Margaret had fun – she might have overdone it, but she tried to have fun. And that is the only way that you can get through life.’

A dramatic pause.

‘Yes! Now I’m getting it. The sadness!’ We’re back to the sadness.

‘There’s so much more she could have done. She enjoyed herself but there’s so much more she could have done to help people. She could have used her life completely differently.’ The monologue ends with a big sigh.

And what about Helena Bonham Carter – does Princess Margaret have any more advice for her?

Once again it’s the spirit of Margaret who chooses to reply: ‘She can ask me herself,’ she snaps.

I’m not much enlightened as I leave, but I am a little shaken. Moreover, I’m 15 minutes late for my next meeting, where I’m immediately informed that Margaret will be unimpressed.

‘The Princess is not one for patience,’ decrees Angela Jensen, a glamorous psychic from Camden Town, North London, with long blonde hair, chunky silver bracelets, painted toenails in high wedges and long false nails.

In a sing-song Welsh accent she explains that we are honoured: Margaret is willing to talk through her. But that means she’ll have to ‘block off’ my energy in order to tap into hers. I’m told to sit on a chair but then I’m reprimanded when I try to cross my legs.

‘Don’t do that in front of me,’ says Angela sternly. I don’t understand the significance but obey. It looks like we’re starting already.

‘I’m very particular about my hair,’ continues Angela, now starting to gesture wildly – and I gather it’s Margaret herself who’s speaking.

She mimes smoking, mutters a lot, makes over-the-top expressions and then squeezes my face.

‘A little bit of colour wouldn’t hurt you… No doctors, no doctors, no doctors.’

It’s incoherent. I’m confused – but nothing surprises me now. It continues: ‘Don’t talk about my personal life. Do you understand me? If you do I will get very upset.’

She grabs my notepad from my hands and hurls it across the room. ‘I like to make an entrance,’ smiles ‘Margaret’ unnervingly. 

‘The lady who’s playing me in the film, my God, she’s going to get recognised now… The people you rely on, don’t trust them. I never trusted anybody.’

I’m struggling to keep up. It turns out this Margaret, too, approves of the decision to cast Bonham Carter in The Crown. ‘She likes her because she does her exactly right – and she’s a bit loopy like her. She’s an individual person. She’s got the same attitude. She’s a hoot!

‘Other Royal roles will come to Helena in the future too, that’s what Margaret is saying to me.’

Once again this Margaret is pleased with the choice of Bonham Carter in the role. ¿She says it¿ll do great things for her career. She¿ll go to America. I¿m getting a strong sense of America'

Once again this Margaret is pleased with the choice of Bonham Carter in the role. ¿She says it¿ll do great things for her career. She¿ll go to America. I¿m getting a strong sense of America'

Once again this Margaret is pleased with the choice of Bonham Carter in the role. ‘She says it’ll do great things for her career. She’ll go to America. I’m getting a strong sense of America’

Angela – who likes to be referred to as ‘Angee’ – is up and down, now, back and forth, jerking about like a wind-up toy. Margaret takes over, once again, with some personal remarks in my direction.

‘You’d suit red actually,’ she says. ‘I know you like it. You’re very particular about what you wear, like me. But sort your teeth out.’

What? Then things go completely off piste.

‘Little George will do very well.’ The ‘Princess’ is nodding vigorously. ‘And there will be two more Royal children… Don’t go to Ireland because you won’t make any money there… She was very kind…’

Completely bonkers? No, its perfectly normal, insists Angee.

‘I’m a trance medium so she comes through me and uses me as a vessel. When she takes over, she takes over.’

It’s been an education – and there is still one appointment with the Princess to come.

Dressed in trendy checked trousers, smart white trainers and a leather jacket, Chris Riley looks more a PR executive than a psychic. He’s only 25 and employs 20 people to ‘read’ for him in the company he’s built up mainly through Facebook.

‘I grew up seeing things that were going to happen,’ he says.

‘I’d say strange things as a kid. I could predict what would happen the next day.’

And he didn’t mean mundane stuff. When Chris was nine, he predicted his house in the Essex countryside would be broken in to the next day. 

It was, and in this Damascene moment he knew he should use his gift for good. Now he has a host of loyal clients, including reality TV star Gemma Collins.

So can I speak to Princess Margaret? He goes misty-eyed, barely blinking as he stares intently to the left. Is he OK?

‘She was very bold and very direct. I don’t think people always liked it. She upset a lot of people, I don’t think she meant to.’

Unlike the medium before him, it’s clear Chris’s approach is more about interpreting a feeling than letting his body being taken over by Princess Margaret herself.

I am relieved.

‘It was difficult for her to let people in. She was very private,’ he continues.

And now he’s adamant: ‘She doesn’t want her illness to be shown on the Netflix show.

‘She is pleased that the show is being made but she wants it to be done in the right way.

‘I think it’s going to bring out a lot of stuff that hasn’t been spoken about and people don’t want to hear about. She thinks it’s delving into things that are too private.

‘There will be some very emotional scenes in the programme, I can tell you that.’

Once again this Margaret is pleased with the choice of Bonham Carter in the role. ‘She says it’ll do great things for her career. She’ll go to America. I’m getting a strong sense of America.’

Does Margaret have any regrets? ‘Absolutely not,’ states Chris emphatically. ‘None.’

Nor me. But it’s already 5pm and I can feel the spirit of the Princess more strongly than ever. I deserve a large gin and tonic.

Source : Mail Online

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