Helen Mirren, who has an Oscar win for her leading portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film “The Queen,” has paid tribute to the late monarch, who died Thursday at age 96.
Mirren posted an image of the young queen to Instagram with the caption, “I am proud to be an Elizabethan. We mourn a woman, who, with or without the crown, was the epitome of nobility”
The British actress, who trained at England’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, was honored with the title of Dame in 2003.
Mirren later reprised the royal role in Peter Morgan’s play “The Audience,” for which she won a Tony for Best Actress.
The “Prime Suspect” star met Queen Elizabeth several times, but had to turn down a dinner invitation with the royal after the film came out as she was busy filming her next project.
Before “The Queen” came out, Mirren wrote a letter to the Queen, apologizing in advance if the film, which is set in the days after the death of Princess Diana in 1997, was “too awful for you.”
She later told the Radio Times, “I realized we were investigating a profoundly painful part of her life, so I wrote to her. I said: ‘We are doing this film. We are investigating a very difficult time in your life. I hope it’s not too awful for you.’”
She added, “I just said that in my research, I found myself with a growing respect for her, and I just wanted to say that. She didn’t write back, of course, but her secretary did. You know: ‘Yours sincerely, da di da di da,’ on behalf of the Queen. I was very relieved subsequently that I had written that letter.”