Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film The Queen
Helen Mirren is expressing her condolences after Queen Elizabeth II‘s death at 96.
On Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen “died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.” Her death follows her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died at age 99 in April 2021.
In a message on Instagram, Mirren — who won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 film The Queen and again portrayed her onstage for the play The Audience on Broadway in 2015 — called the late monarch the “epitome of nobility.” Mirren, 77, was appointed a dame by Queen Elizabeth back in 2003.
“I am proud to be an Elizabethan. We mourn a woman, who, with or without the crown, was the epitome of nobility,” wrote Mirren.
The Queen, which told the story of Princess Diana‘s tragic death and the Queen’s reaction to it, was written by Peter Morgan, who would go on to create Netflix’s The Crown. It also starred James Cromwell as Prince Philip, Michael Sheen as former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and Alex Jennings as Prince Charles.
When Mirren accepted her Best Actress Academy Award for her performance, she said in her speech at the time, “Now, you know, for 50 years and more, Elizabeth Windsor has maintained her dignity, her sense of duty and her hairstyle. She’s had her feet planted firmly on the ground, her hat on her head, her handbag on her arm and she’s weathered many, many storms.”
“I salute her courage and her consistency. And I thank her, because if it wasn’t for her I most, most certainly would not be here,” she added.
At the “Helen Mirren and Hawk Koch Discuss the Magic of Movies” event back in 2019, the actress opened up about a “lesson in embarrassment” she was taught during tea with Queen Elizabeth.
“She invited me for tea,” Mirren began. “I thought it was going to be in a room with 200 other people, which it often is. I’ve met her once before and it was in a room with 200 other people. So I said, ‘Oh, well, I can manage that.’ So it was at the horsey place and the message came to me that the Queen would like to invite you to tea, she knows you’re here.”
“So I walk in, and there’s like eight people sitting around a table. Prince Philip, the Queen, a Sheik of somewhere or other and a couple of horsey people. I know absolutely nothing about horses, at all, and the Queen knows everything about horses,” continued Mirren, adding that she was “desperately trying to make polite conversation and it’s just coming out like gobbledygook.”
Mirren added of the meeting that “they were lovely, they were utterly gracious.”