Game of Thrones and Anne Boleyn actress Natalie Dormer has given birth to a baby daughter, her first child with partner David Oakes.
Her ‘Covid baby’ was born in January and has been kept a secret, shared only with family and close friends, but the news will delight her fans.
Natalie, 39, who does not use social media, broke the good tidings to her friend Esther Rantzen on her That’s After Life podcast, produced by Captive Minds, released on Wednesday.
Happy news: Game of Thrones and Anne Boleyn actress Natalie Dormer has given birth to a baby daughter, her first child with partner David Oakes
‘It’s the perfect thing to do during a pandemic – get pregnant, have a baby,’ joked Natalie, who lives in Richmond, south-west London with boyfriend and fellow actor David, who she met in West End play Venus in Fur in 2019.
‘I feel like I’m probably being a bit of a cliché, she’ll probably be sitting in a bar in 30 years’ time one day going, “Yeah, I’m a COVID baby”.
‘I think there’s going to be lots of COVID babies because what else can people do, maybe like blitz babies? ‘
Unexpected: Her ‘Covid baby’ was born in January and has been kept a secret, shared only with family and close friends, but the news will delight her fans
She added: ‘She’s just three months and she’s an absolute joy, I’m never going to complain about shooting hours ever again because sleep deprivation is something else.
‘People say, “Your whole perspective on life will change, and your whole set of value system” and you sort of roll your eyes and go “yeah, yeah” — and then you have one and you go, “Oh. Wow!”’
She said motherhood had been a steep learning curve and she was missing her sleep, but said: ‘I’m in love. I’m absolutely in love, she’s a joy. Sleep has always been quite important to me –that’s the only downside, but you know nature is so clever, the hormones kick in. So you regret it.’
Started out as friends and co-stars: Oakes and Dormer met when they starred together in the play Venus In Fur, which ran in in London’s West End from October to December 2017 (pictured)
Natalie, whose biggest role has been as Margaery Tyrell in seasons two to six of Game of Thrones, had her first break as Anne Boleyn in BBC historical drama The Tudors from 2007. She has appeared in two instalments of The Hunger Games franchise and had a recurring role in the US drama series Elementary.
She admitted that working in TV or movies would be a challenge with a baby. ‘I’m going to find it very difficult, I think, you don’t want to warp the childhood experience.’
She hoped that she’d be able to take advantage of more child-friendly hours by returning to her first love, the theatre.
Iconic: The actress is best known for her role as Margaery Tyrell in Game Of Thrones
‘People in the industry that I’m in do lean on nannies and they do that for a reason so that they can take children with them.
‘But, I mean for me, this is the perfect time to go back to the stage, because then I could be with her all day.
‘But with COVID, who knows when that will happen. I really feel for our theatres around the country, there’s hard times.’
She said her ability to nap at all times of day would be a great asset as she returns to work, saying: ‘I love a lunch break because I nap. I’m a cat, I can nap anywhere. It’s a life skill, and I don’t have many but I’m very proud of that one, which has proved very useful with the baby.’
Challenging: Natalie admits that working in TV or movies will be a challenge with a baby
She told how her passion for history got her into trouble with the Anne Boleyn role after she was accepted for the part, aged 26.
‘I was so dedicated to study and loving my history when I got the role, I just dyed my hair brunette a couple of months before shooting because I wanted to get used to it. I just naturally assumed that it’s Anne Boleyn, who was called Dark Mistress… because she had quite sallow skin and dark hair and went ahead and dyed my hair brown.’
But unbeknown to her, the Showtime bosses had cast her as a blonde, and attempts to take her hair back to its natural colour were disastrous: ‘You invariably look a complete mess and go orange!’
She said she had to plead with the head of the giant US network ‘and I gave him a monologue of being authentic and historically accurate to the real woman and talking about who Anne Boleyn was… and at the end he was like, “Well if it’s that important to you, then of course you can play her brunette.”’
Years later, when she played Cressida in The Hunger Games, she had to plead for her locks again – this time to stop them being shaved off completely.
Director Francis Lawrence was considering asking her to follow suit, but she proposed a half-way compromise.
She recalled: ‘I said to him, “I’m not just saying this because I don’t want to shave all my hair off, I think one side would look pretty frickin’ cool” – and it did.’
She said her time on Game of Thrones felt like ‘being on a zeitgeist show’ and on the crest of a wave.
‘It was a very specific moment, cultural moment in television, as you know, this great content wave that we have now the way people view programmes has changed and, and, it timed perfectly with that, and we as a cast all rode that.’
Natalie also shared her support of Esther Rantzen’s charity Childline, for which she has run marathons, and even helped man the phone helplines on night shifts.
She said: ‘I genuinely believe, other than climate change, that children are the most important thing and it’s an absolute scandal that we don’t put our children first and foremost in everything.
‘And whether that’s destroying their planet, or making sure that they feel that they are heard and supported when they’re going through psychological or physically or physical horrific times. The NSPCC tagline that “Every Childhood is Worth Fighting For”, I believe that so strongly.’