Kate Middleton and Prince William Watch as Queen Elizabeth Is Honored by Helen Mirren at BAFTAs

Helen Mirren, who played Queen Elizabeth II on screen, led the tribute at the 2023 BAFTA Awards as the late monarch's grandson was part of the live audience

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: (L to R) Emma Baehr (BAFTA Director of Awards & Content), Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Prince of Wales during the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Garfitt/BAFTA via Getty Images)
Kate Middleton and Prince William. Photo: Scott Garfitt/BAFTA via Getty

Kate Middleton and Prince William were among the live audience at the 2023 BAFTA Awards to watch Helen Mirren lead a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Mirren, 77, took the stage to thank the late monarch for her "loyal support" of the British film industry during Sunday's awards show, after the Queen died at age 96 in September following a historic 70-year reign.

"British film would not be where it is today without her loyal support," she started. "In 1952, her coronation had the world watching. From that time she was unquestionably the nation's leading lady, but as mysterious as a silent film star."

"Who else would meet the world's most famous singers, actors and performers and turn them into her supporting cast? Throughout her 70-year reign, she met cinema's greatest icons and witnessed the evolution of Hollywood's golden age to the birth of the blockbuster," she continued. "Her Majesty was front row for it all."

Added Mirren: "She supported over 50 cultural organizations and in 2013 it was her turn to be honored with a BAFTA in recognition of the Queen's outstanding patronage of the film and television industry. Cinema at its best does what Her Majesty does effortlessly: bring us together and unite us."

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Dame Helen Mirren speaks on stage during the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)
Stuart Wilson/BAFTA/Getty for BAFTA

The tribute then featured a clip with a previous statement from the Queen on the importance of the arts. "Through the creative genius of artists whether they be writers, actors, filmmakers, dancers or musicians we can see both the range of our cultures and the elements of our shared humanity," she said.

Mirren concluded: "Your Majesty, you are our nation's leading star. On behalf of BAFTA, thank you for all that you have done for our film and television industry."

The British actress famously played Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 movie The Queen, winning an Oscar and a BAFTA for her performance. She reprised the royal role for the Broadway play The Audience in 2015.

Mirren became a Dame (the female equivalent of a knight in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her services to drama in 2003 and got to meet the sovereign at a reception at Buckingham Palace in 2011.

Queen Elizabeth II receives an honorary BAFTA in recognition of a lifetime's support to British Film and Television at Windsor Castle on April 4, 2013 in Berkshire, England.
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty

In a statement released ahead of the tribute, BAFTA said, "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."

The arts organization enjoyed a close association with Queen Elizabeth for most of her record-breaking reign. In addition to serving as patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Variety Charity and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, the Queen also gave her portion of the proceeds from the 1969 BBC documentary Royal Family to the Society of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA's predecessor, to establish a headquarters.

In 2013, the Queen accepted a BAFTA of her own. The honorary British Academy Special Award celebrated her decades-long support of film and television in the U.K.

RELATED VIDEO: Kate Middleton Plants Tree Dedicated to Queen Elizabeth at a Spot with Special Meaning for Both Women

This year marked a return to the awards ceremony for Prince William, 40, and Kate, 41, after not attending the past two years. In 2021, William pulled out of an appearance at the BAFTAs following Prince Philip's death. It was announced last year that the royal couple wouldn't attend the awards ceremony due to diary constraints.

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Prince William has served as president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts since 2010, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Prince Philip and aunt Princess Anne.

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