The actress spends an hour with Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Ascot race meeting

By Phil Dampier
Updated June 20, 2008 11:30 AM

Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II in 2006’s The Queen, came face-to-face with the real Queen yesterday at the Royal Ascot race meeting near Windsor, England, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The British star, 62, had turned down an invitation to Buckingham Palace last year in the aftermath of her Oscar triumph. But all was forgiven as she had tea with Queen Elizabeth II in the royal box at the Royal Ascot race meeting on Thursday. The pair spent nearly an hour chatting and enjoying English traditional cucumber sandwiches and cakes with their tea.

Just hours earlier, Mirren presented a race trophy and then explained to PEOPLE why she declined last year’s invitation, which conflicted with her shooting schedule on National Treasure 2. “I spoke to Buckingham Palace after I was invited and told them that I was filming in South Dakota and couldn’t be in two places at once,” said Mirren. “There was no snub and I would love to meet the Queen. It would be a great honor.”

A couple of hours later, her wish came true.

The actress had met the Queen once before, but not since portraying her in The Queen.