Dame Helen Mirren remembered the Queen as the ‘nation’s leading star’ as she led a special tribute to the late monarch during the Bafta film awards.
The veteran actress, 77, has portrayed the monarch on stage and screen, winning an Oscar and Bafta for her portrayal in the 2006 biographical drama The Queen.
The late Queen had a close association with the Academy for 50 years, which saw her donate and support initiatives, as well as attend many events.
Taking the stage at this year’s awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday in front of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Bafta’s compatriot Dame Helen said: ‘Bafta’s relationship with Her Majesty was long-standing and Bafta wouldn’t be what it is today without her loyal support.
The Prince and Princess of Wales seemed touched by the tribute and could be seen clapping as the actress concluded her speech.
“In 1953, her coronation broadcast attracted the world. From then on, she was unmistakably the country’s first lady but as mysterious as a silent film star.
“Who else could meet the world’s most famous singers, actors and performers and turn them into their supporting cast.
“Throughout her 70-year reign, she met cinema’s greatest icons and witnessed the evolution from Hollywood’s Golden Age to the birth of the blockbuster. Her Majesty was front row for all that.
The actress also referenced the more than 50 cultural organizations the late monarch supported during her lifetime and the honorary Bafta award she received in 2013 in recognition of her “outstanding sponsorship of the film and television industries”. .
Dame Helen continued: “Cinema at its best, effortlessly does what Her Majesty has done – brings us together and unites us in a story…
‘Your Majesty, you are our nation’s leading star. On behalf of Bafta, thank you for all you have done for our film and television industry.
In 1972, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh donated the proceeds of the Royal Family documentary film to the Society of Film and Television Arts (SFTA), which later became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta), for a new headquarters.
The renaming of the organization took place at the official opening of the headquarters in 1976, which was conducted by the Queen. It remains the London home of Bafta five decades later.
During her lifetime, the Queen was a patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Variety Charity and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.
The Queen’s grandson, the Prince of Wales, has been chairman of Bafta since 2010.
Speaking to Alison Hammond after the tribute, Dame Helen said: ‘It was difficult, I didn’t want to cry.
“I kinda cried when I rehearsed and thought, ‘Okay, I’m done with that,’ because I wouldn’t want to.”
“But I felt very strongly about the Queen, I am Elizabethan. She was there my whole life, so her death was massive.
The Prince, President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and the Princess will attend the awards ceremony before meeting the category winners and EE Rising Star award nominees.
The royal couple have made the event an annual date in the diary, but they last attended in 2020, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic brought about lockdown in the UK.
In 2018, the couple were present when Catherine was pregnant with baby Louis, and were also guest of honor in 2017.
The EE BAFTA Film Awards are an annual celebration of extraordinary skill, talent and craftsmanship in the film industry.
For the first time, this year’s awards culminated in a live broadcast of the final four categories, allowing audiences to experience the reactions of nominees and winners in real time.
BAFTA is a world-renowned independent arts charity that brings the best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and overseas.
BAFTA is committed to identifying talented people and ensuring they receive professional support and guidance that will enable them to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances.
The charity offers a year-round international program of events and learning initiatives, including scholarships and mentorship schemes.