Royal families have been captivating people around the world for centuries, whether it be real-life kings and queens or dazzling portrayals of them in movies and TV shows.
The Crown has perhaps become the most well-known depiction of the British royal family since it premiered on Netflix in 2016, with Claire Foy and Matt Smith playing Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, respectively. By the time season 3 rolled around, Olivia Colman assumed the role of the monarch, while Tobias Menzies took over as the Duke of Edinburgh. The historical drama also stars Helena Bonham Carter as the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, the eldest child of Elizabeth and Philip.
Through the years, countless Hollywood heavyweights have stepped into the shoes of royalty on the big screen too.
Naomi Watts portrayed the late Princess Diana in the 2013 biographical drama Diana, but she did not receive the critical acclaim that The Crown has. Instead, she was nominated for worst actress at the Razzie Awards.
Helen Mirren had much better fortune seven years earlier when she tried on Elizabeth’s crown in The Queen. The role landed the dame an Oscar for best actress — and an invitation to Buckingham Palace by the sovereign herself. She reprised the part in the 2013 West End production of The Audience.
“The world [that the royals] live in is so beyond our understanding,” Mirren, who calls herself a “queenist” and not a “monarchist,” told The New York Times in 2015. “You’ve never queued for anything. Ever, for anything. Every time you go in the street, the traffic is stopped for you. It’s a world you can’t imagine. They are, in a way, aliens. But inside that, they are the same flawed, insecure, vulnerable, complicated human beings we are.”
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