Actress Helen Mirren experienced one of the highlights of her career in 2006 when she played Elizabeth II herself in the acclaimed and award-winning film ‘The Queen’. The veteran performer won almost all the interpretive awards she opted for, including the Oscar and the Bafta, thanks to this narrative that addressed one of the most complicated stages in the sovereign’s long career.
The plot centered on the harsh criticism that the monarch, as well as other members of the royal family, received for her initial refusal to hold a state funeral for the ill-fated Diana of Wales, who died in 1997 due to a traffic accident in central Paris. Finally, Elizabeth II changed her mind and offered several significant gestures to ingratiate herself with her subjects, while paying tribute to the late princess.
Apart from the relatively positive outcome for the image of the queen, Helen Mirren knew that the film could make her uncomfortable as she recalls one of the most difficult periods of her reign. Therefore, the interpreter did not hesitate to write personally to the head of state to warn her about the sensitivity of the issues to be dealt with by the film, directed by Stephen Frears. What Mirren perhaps did not expect was to receive a response from Buckingham Palace.
“I wondered how one addresses her queen. Is she called a lady, her highness or her majesty? The thing is, I told him we were going to make this movie. “We are investigating a very difficult period of his life. I hope it’s not too terrible for you.’ I don’t know how I told her exactly, but I can say that, as we were investigating, I began to develop a deep respect for her, and that’s why I wanted to let her know,” the actress told Radio Times magazine.
The legendary artist, 76, has not wanted to reveal the exact content of the letter sent to her by a secretary of Elizabeth II, although she has confessed that she received with relief the apparent certainty that the queen had read her letter. “She didn’t answer me, of course, but her secretary did. I don’t know what and I don’t know how much in the name of the Queen, attentively hers… I felt much better after I wrote to him, really,” he shared.