Helen Mirren will honor Queen Elizabeth at the 2023 BAFTA film awards.
On Tuesday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced that the actor, who famously played the monarch in the 2006 film The Queen, will deliver a “special tribute” to the late royal during this year’s ceremony. In a statement, the awards organization wrote, “The Queen occupies a unique place in BAFTA’s history, a close association that spanned 50 years. Through her various patronages, The Queen was renowned for her support of the UK’s creative industries.” Over the past five decades, the BAFTAs have enjoyed a close relationship with the royal family as the monarch served as patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Variety Charity and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. She even donated her portion of the proceeds from the 1969 BBC documentary Royal Family to the Society of Film and Television Arts, which was the BAFTA’s predecessor, in order to help them establish a headquarters.
Mirren previously won a BAFTA for her performance as the queen and also reprised the role in the Broadway play The Audience in 2014. In 2003, she was made a dame for her services to drama, the female equivalent of being knighted in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. And in 2011, she got the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth herself during a reception held at Buckingham Palace. Two years later, the monarch received a BAFTA of her own. Her long history of supporting film and television in the UK was celebrated with an honorary British Academy Special Award.
In September of last year, following the queen’s death, the BAFTAs expressed their condolences, releasing a statement that read, “The Queen occupies a unique place in the Academy’s history and will be missed enormously. Our thoughts are with our President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Family, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy.”
Since 2010, the queen’s grandson, Prince William, has held the title of president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, taking over the role from his grandfather Prince Philip and aunt Princess Anne. Kensington Palace confirmed this week that he and his wife Princess Kate will be in attendance at the award ceremony on Sunday, making their first appearance at the event under their new titles, the Prince and Princess of Wales. This is also the first time in three years that the royal couple has been able to attend the BAFTAs. In 2021, William was scheduled to deliver a speech via video, but had to pull out due to the death of his grandfather and, last year, they were unable to make it due to what the palace referred to as “diary constraints.”
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