The Queen on Screen: The Best Known Portrayals of Queen Elizabeth
HELEN MIRREN, THE QUEEN
When it comes to capturing the Queen on screen, no one does it better than Helen Mirren, who first took on the role of the legendary monarch in the 2006 film The Queen, which followed Queen Elizabeth in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. Although the Queen couldn't award her for the performance (Mirren had already been made a Dame in 2003), she did win an Oscar for the film.
HELEN MIRREN, THE AUDIENCE
Mirren was so good at capturing Queen Elizabeth in The Queen that she was asked to play her again, this time onstage in The Audience, a play that premiered on London's West End and later made its way to Broadway. Unlike in The Queen, The Audience focused on a longer stretch of Elizabeth's reign, depicting her imagined meetings with Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill to David Cameron. She won a Tony for this performance, too.
CLAIRE FOY, THE CROWN
In a yet-to-be-debuted Netflix drama, Wolf Hall's Claire Foy takes on the Queen's early life, starting when she was still just Princess Elizabeth, leading up through her early years on the throne. Doctor Who's Matt Smith also appears in the series as Prince Philip, with John Lithgow taking on the role of Winston Churchill.
JANE ALEXANDER, WILLIAM & CATHERINE: A ROYAL ROMANCE
Prince William and Princess Kate's college romance and subsequent fairytale wedding served as the inspiration for many pop-culture recreations, including this made-for-TV movie, William amp Catherine: A Royal Romance. Jane Alexander's Queen plays a big part in the 2011 film, and frequently engages in sit-downs with her granddaughter-in-law-to-be.
FREYA WILSON, THE KING'S SPEECH
2010's The King's Speech is really about the age of the monarchy before Elizabeth, but she still makes an appearance in the film, as a young girl with quite a different future ahead of her, as her uncle, King Edward VIII, had yet to abdicate.
Thompson's an Oscar winner and an internationally known actress, but her portrayal of the Queen in 2012's Walking the Dogs has remained relatively under-the-radar. The short film follows a fictional Buckingham Palace break-in, when an intruder sneaks into the Queen's room for a chat while her security guard is taking the corgis for a walk.
Playing the Queen is a lofty task, but Charles has made a living off it. A professional "Queen Elizabeth lookalike" for her resemblance to the monarch, she's played Her Majesty in everything from Austin Powers to National Lampoon's European Vacation.
ROSEMARY LEACH, MARGARET
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the real star of this 2009 made-for-TV movie, but the Queen's part in the film was long enough to stir up a bit of controversy. The 2009 film implied that Elizabeth had encouraged Thatcher to resign her post as Prime Minister, a claim that Buckingham Palace refused to confirm, releasing a statement instead: "We never discuss anything regarding meetings that the Queen has with any of her prime ministers."