'Cinderella' star Lily James reveals that blonde locks and a sparkling personality aren't the only things she has in common with her fairytale role - she has also suffered the loss of a parent, a tragedy that struck while she was still in drama school.

Lily James in Cinderella
Lily James reveals personal loss behind 'Cinderella' performance

The 'Downton Abbey' star insisted that one of the reasons she was able to relate to Cinderella so well in the new Disney live action adaptation was because she has also suffered bereavement when, at the age of 19, she lost her father to cancer. 'I had a scene where I was told my dad had died, so it was really hard, but I feel what's important in the film is that Cinderella gains strength from her loss and that was something that was in me', the 25-year-old revealed to Sunday Times Style magazine.

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In the movie, Cinderella similarly loses her mother at a young age, to be replaced by a wicked stepmother, and while Lily James was never forced to scrub floors as a teenager, the experience of grief seems to have humbled her in a similar way. 'I really, honestly and truthfully never thought I'd get it', she recently revealed, according to the Mirror.

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James admits she still struggles to process the death of her father, and believes it will take her her whole life to come to terms with it. 'That's sort of why my experience of drama school is pretty unique', she continued. 'It happened while I was there.'

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Kenneth Branagh's live action adaptation of 'Cinderella' - also starring Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett - is in cinemas now.