Last year marked the 20th Anniversary of Diana’s death, and in preceding weeks, the fascination with the late princess was in full throttle. O’Riley speaks highly about the princess’ effect on the nation. “The public is fascinated by that family… and she touched a lot of people. I think she made something that was intangible very tangible. She made it human – the job of being a royal, that is – and I think that’s her legacy”. Instantly upon seeing O’Riley, you immediately see why the casting director got the TV movie Diana: Last Days of a Princess had her play “the people’s princess”.
Regal in her poise, and with the kind of delicate bone structure that wouldn’t look out of place atop a throne, O’Reilly was born in Dublin. Her parents moved the family to Adelaide, Australia, when she was 10 years old, “They sold it to us as a big adventure”. Despite remaining in the country until she moved to London with her Australian husband in 2005, O’Reilly still has an Irish accent.
Her Celtic roots are partly where her love of acting came from. “Irish culture is, by its very essence, quite theatrical. I grew up in a family where people sang, dance and read poetry.” O’Reilly goes back to visit Australia, along with her husband and two children.
Her Husband, Luke, is a chiropracto, and she regularly gets him to practise on her: “It can be very handy when you’re on stage every night,” She says. The distance means that it’s not as often as she would like. The travelling actor’s lifestyle means she’s had to get used to being apart from loved ones but even though the couple misses their relatives in Australia, there are no plans to move back, “We couldn’t. We simply love living in London too much.”