See Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson and More Stars Who Brought Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Reign to the Screen

From the award-winning film The Queen to Netflix’s The Crown, Queen Elizabeth was portrayed over the years by a list of countless notable stars before her passing.

By Kisha Forde Sep 11, 2022 6:00 AMTags
Watch: How Meghan & Harry Introduced Baby Lili to Queen Elizabeth II

Heavy is the head that wears the crown—especially when it means portraying Queen Elizabeth II, one of the longest-serving monarchs in history.
Over the years, viewers have gotten more than a few nuanced glimpses into the captivating life of the royal, who—before her passing on Sept. 8 at age 96, made history as the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-serving female head of state in history with 70 years on the throne.
Most recently, for Netflix's hit series, The Crown, actress Claire Foy took on the role of the Queen in both the first and second seasons, with Olivia Colman portraying her in both the third and fourth. When the series returns later this year for the fifth season, Emmy nominated star Imelda Staunton will sit on the throne as the British ruler.

Other stars who have donned Her Majesty's regal regalia include Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson, Sarah Gadon and more.

Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Style Through the Years

Born in April 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor became the Queen of the United Kingdom at just 25 years old when her father, King George VI, died in 1952.

Just five years before, Elizabeth had wed Prince Philip, who she remained married to for 73 years until his death in April 2021. The couple had four children together: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

The monarch has been portrayed in roughly 100 films and TV shows, with an impressive roster of award-winning actresses who have taken on the powerful role.

With great power comes great responsibility, and in honor of Her Majesty's lasting legacy, here we highlight some of the most notable portrayals of the Queen who was known for her love of gardening, horse riding and of course, her beloved dogs.

Maggie Sullivun

The actress played the role of the Queen in Lifetime's 2018 flick, Harry & Meghan, A Royal Romance and in the network's 2019 sequel, Harry & Meghan, Becoming Royal.

Imelda Staunton

The Award winning actress is set to portray the monarch in the final two seasons of Netflix's The Crown.

Olivia Colman

From 2019 to 2020, the actress portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, of which she won both a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Helen Mirren

For her striking portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, the actress was honored with an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2006.

Emma Thompson

In the TV drama Walking the Dogs, Thompson brings to life an actual encounter the Queen had with an intruder who broke into her Buckingham Palace bedroom in 1982.

Freya Wilson

This budding starlet appeared as a then-Princess Elizabeth in the 2010 period drama The King's Speech alongside Colin Firth as her dad, King George VI.

Claire Foy

Netflix series The Crown follows the monarch's personal life leading up to her ascendance to the throne at just 25 years old.

Jennifer Saunders

The accomplished British comedienne did an absolutely fabulous job lending her voice to the 2015 animated flick Minions.

Fred Armisen

While Armisen won't be winning any Oscars for his QE2 portrayal, the comedian has been the source of quite a few LOL-worthy moments while spoofing the monarch on Saturday Night Live.

The Simpsons

Across its 27 seasons, voice actors Tress MacNeille, Eddie Izzard and Maggie Roswell have all portrayed the Royal.


Helen Mirren

The accomplished star reprised her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the stage adaptation of The Audience, which won her a Tony Award in 2015.

Kristin Scott Thomas

After Helen Mirren's final curtain call, Thomas made her West End debut in The Audience in 2015.

Sarah Gadon

This 2015 romantic comedy chronicles a young Princess Elizabeth on an incognito adventure outside the palace walls alongside Princess Margaret (Bel Powley).

Jeannette Charles

For more than 40 years, Charles reigned supreme as Queen Elizabeth II's look-a-like. She has appeared as the Queen in Queen Kong, All You Need Is Cash, National Lampoon's European Vacation, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Jeannette Charles

Whoa, there! The actress channels the Queen's risque side in 1988's The Naked Gun.

Jane Alexander

The Tony and Emmy winner took on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in 2011's TV movie William & Catherine: A Royal Romance.

Vanessa Redgrave

Even the Queen of England got a shout-out in 2011's Cars 2! The folks at Pixar enlisted the revered thesp's help in presiding over the finish line at the World Grand Prix in London.

PHOTOS: Stars Meeting Royals

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