There are few who have been portrayed on the big screen more times than the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Britain’s longest ever serving monarch, and the second-longest reigning monarch in world history, the Queen died on Thursday, aged 96. In a statement, the Royal Family announced, “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.”
Queen Elizabeth II, queen of the United Kingdom, has died aged 96
Having reigned for 70 years, the Queen’s standing as a cultural icon can’t be understated, especially on screen. From Oscar-winning drama to slapstick comedies, Queen Elizabeth II has appeared as a character in well over 20 feature films (not to mention many, many more TV shows).
From her first on-screen portrayal in the early seventies to a CGI cameo in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG, we’ve rounded up the Queen’s various film portrayals below.
Tricia’s Wedding, Steven Walden, 1971
According to IMDb, this is the earliest fictional film portrayal of Her Majesty.
Credit: Screenshot: YouTube / Frameline
A short comedy spoof which involves a glamorous Steven Walden playing a young Queen Elizabeth II at a farcical version of Tricia Nixon’s wedding.
Bons baisers de Hong Kong, Huguette Funfrock, 1975
Another comedy, and the first of several times the Queen was played by French actress Huguette Funfrock. Bons baisers de Hong Kong, which translates to From Hong Kong with Love, centres around four French agents’ bungling attempts to help rescue the Queen from kidnappers (it’s basically a very ridiculous James Bond spoof).
Queen Kong, Jeannette Charles, 1976
The only person to play the Queen more times than Huguette Funfrock is British actress (and undeniable look-a-like) Jeannette Charles. Her role in comedy adventure Queen Kong is brief, but she does manage the Queen’s trademark wave and the iconic line: “We were most certainly not amused.”
Le Bourreau des coeurs, Huguette Funfrock, 1983
Funfrock’s second time playing Queen Elizabeth II came in the 1983 film Le Bourreau des coeurs (a.k.a. The Heartbreaker) — a French comedy about a little-known actor who rockets to fame.
Aces Go Places 3, Huguette Funfrock, 1984
Funfrock’s final outing as the Queen (at least on film) was in Hong Kong comedy (and yet another Bond spoof) Aces Go Places 3, which involves a larger-than-life plot about gem thieves and plenty of strange set-pieces and high speed chases.
National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Jeannette Charles, 1985
Jeannette Charles stars alongside a Prince Charles look-a-like in this one.
Credit: Warner Bros.
Jeannette Charles again, this time popping up nine years after Queen Kong in a dream sequence towards the beginning of National Lampoon’s European Vacation. She’s got more lines in this one, too, and a supporting cast of fellow royal family members.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Jeannette Charles, 1988
Anyone who’s seen ‘The Naked Gun’ will remember this moment.
Leslie Nielsen’s calamitous attempt to save the Queen from what he thinks is an assassination attempt has to be one of the more memorable scenes from The Naked Gun (and it’s definitely Jeanette Charles’ most memorable turn as Her Majesty).
The BFG, Angela Thorne, 1989
Here’s an animated Queen Elizabeth II preparing to gift a castle to a giant.
Credit: Fremantle Media / Shutterstock
The Queen (voiced by Angela Thorne) pops up at the end of the 1989 animation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG to offer Sophie and the rest of the orphans a home in Buckingham Palace, and to bestow a castle on the Big Friendly Giant himself.
The Duke, Carolyn Sadowska, 1999
Like Huguette Funfrock and Jeannette Charles, Carolyn Sadowska is another actress who has specialised in playing the Queen (on this occasion in a fairly ridiculous comedy that centres around a Duke passing his inheritance on to his dog).
Her Majesty, Rachel Wallis, 2001
Her Majesty revolves around a little girl whose royal obsession builds to a fever pitch after she discovers Queen Elizabeth II (Rachel Wallis) is going to be visiting her hometown in New Zealand (despite not actually being in the film all that much, the Queen is still a pretty big part of this story).
Ali G Indahouse, Jeanette Vane, 2002
The Queen meets Ali G.
Credit: Screenshot: Netflix / Film4
We don’t see the Queen’s face in this one, but we do hear her voice meeting Ali G. This one’s probably up there with The Naked Gun in terms of memorability.
Austin Powers in Goldmember, Jeannette Charles, 2002
Knighting Austin Powers.
Credit: Screenshot: Netflix / New Line Cinema
2002 was a bumper year for comedy Queen cameos. A full 36 years after Jeannette Charles made her first film appearance in Queen Kong, she returned to cameo as Her Majesty in the third and final Austin Powers film. It was the last movie she appeared in as the Queen.
What a Girl Wants, Elizabeth Richard, 2003
Director Dennie Gordon leads a scene with Elizabeth Richard as. theQueen.
Credit: Frank Connor / Warner Bros / Kobal / Shutterstock
This is the first film in which impersonator Elizabeth Richard cameos as the Queen, and it’s not the last. It’s also the first of two films in which Colin Firth stars alongside a fictional version of Her Majesty — this time as the father of visiting American teenager (and main character) Daphne Reynolds.
Churchill: The Hollywood Years, Neve Campbell, 2004
Yes, that’s Neve Campbell.
Credit: Screenshot: YouTube / Pathe
There have been some fairly slapstick versions of the Queen up until this point, but Churchill: The Hollywood Years really amps it up a notch. The film revolves around Hitler attempting to marry into the Windsors (yep) and stars Christian Slater as a muscled, action hero version of Winston Churchill. It also features Neve Campbell as the machine gun-toting Princess Elizabeth (she was still a few years off becoming Queen at this point).
Royal Faceoff, Lesley Staples, 2006
Another year, another wildly ridiculous Queen portrayal. Like What a Girl Wants, this one involves an American high-schooler getting bizarrely mixed up with the Royal Family (in this case, the main character wants to try and remove the Queen’s face from the world’s currency, or something). British actress Lesley Staples stars as a farcical, dancing version of Queen Elizabeth II.
Rabbit Over the Void, Elena Safonova, 2006
Rabbit Over The Void (or Zayats nad bezdnoy, as it’s known in Russian) is a 2006 comedy about a man trying to convince a Baron that he’s worthy to marry his daughter. Queen Elizabeth II, played by Russian actress Elena Safonova, rides up on a horse near the end of the film for a casual cameo.
The Queen, Dame Helen Mirren, 2006
Dame Helen Mirren is probably the most famous actress to take on the role of Queen Elizabeth II.
Credit: Moviestore / Shutterstock
Breaking the almost uninterrupted run of farcical comedy cameos is 2006 drama The Queen, which stars a stern Dame Helen Mirren as Her Majesty in the post-Diana years. This is arguably one of the most successful films that the Queen has been fictionalised in: it received a largely positive response from critics and netted Mirren an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
2012, Elizabeth Richard, 2009
It’s a dark and blurry moment, but a fictional Queen Elizabeth II does indeed have a moment being hurried along with her corgis during an evacuation scene in 2009 disaster movie 2012.
The King’s Speech, Freya Wilson, 2010
Princess Elizabeth, in miniature.
Credit: Weinstein Co / UK Film Council / See Saw / Kobal / Shutterstock
The King’s Speech — which takes place in the years immediately before the outbreak of WWII – features the youngest film portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II (Freya Wilson), way back before she became the ruling monarch. This one’s definitely the most critically successful film featuring Her Majesty — it was nominated for eight Oscars in 2011 and came away with four.
A Royal Night Out, Sarah Gadon, 2015
A young Princess Elizabeth at the end of WWII, played by Sarah Gadon.
Credit: Screenshot: YouTube / Lionsgate
Following handily on from The King’s Speech comes A Royal Night Out — a film that focusses on Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and her sister Margaret celebrating the end of World War II with a wild night out in 1945.
Minions, Jennifer Saunders, 2015
The Queen has had plenty of unusual film cameos over the years, but fighting a Minion that’s attempting to steal her crown has to be one of the most memorable. We particularly like the way her majesty (voiced by Jennifer Saunders) elbow drops the goggly thief.
The BFG, Penelope Wilton, 2016
The Queen meets the BFG.
Credit: Screenshot: YouTube / Disney
A full 27 years after the animated version of The BFG comes Disney’s live action remake, complete with yet another cameo from the Queen. Penelope Wilton’s version of the monarch is less formal and more sassy.
The Queen’s Corgi, Mari Devon and Julie Walters, 2019
Credit: Screenshot: YouTube / LionsgateFilmsUK
2019 saw Queen Elizabeth II in another CGI outing, this time voiced by Mari Devon and Julie Walters and in a supporting role to the real star of the show: her lost corgi, Rex, voiced by Jack Whitehall, who gets caught up in an adventure in London after getting lost outside the palace.
Spencer, Stella Gonet, 2021.
Credit: Screenshot: YouTube / Neon
Following on from the popularity of The Crown‘s fourth season, which followed Lady Diana Spencer’s relationship with Prince Charles in the 1980s, Spencer takes a look at the same story, this time focussing on a Christmas with the royal family in 1991. Although Lady Diana is the focus Queen Elizabeth II also, of course, has a big part to play, portrayed this time by Stella Gonet.
To conclude, it’s worth noting that there were a couple of other references in IMDb to other films that are harder to track down. One of these was a 1999 TV movie called The Pooch and the Pauper, while the other was an impressively ridiculous-sounding James Bond spoof called Never Say Never Mind: The Swedish Bikini Team (2001).
The Queen has also been portrayed in countless television series — everything from brief Doctor Who cameos to critically acclaimed shows like The Crown, in which she’s been played by Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, and Imelda Staunton.