Queen Elizabeth II on screen: Actresses who gave notable portrayals

Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, leaving a legacy as one of the most-portrayed public figures in history. File Photo by Neil Hall/UPI
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, leaving a legacy as one of the most-portrayed public figures in history. File Photo by Neil Hall/UPI

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- When Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday, she left a legacy of one of the most-portrayed dramatic public figures ever.

From film, television and stage, actresses have taken up the monarch's mantle in almost every stage of her life, from a young princess to a seasoned royal.


Elizabeth has been portrayed on-screen roughly 100 times.

Here are the six most famous portrayals of Queen Elizabeth II in film and television.

Helen Mirren -- 'The Queen'

Helen Mirren takes the crown for perhaps the most iconic portrayal of Her Majesty in the 2006 film The Queen. The film depicts the events surrounding the royal family following the death of Princess Diana. For her performance, Mirren would win the Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Actress. The Queen is streaming on HBO Max, Roku and YouTube.

Helen Mirren attends the SAG Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. in February. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Claire Foy -- 'The Crown' Seasons 1 and 2

Perhaps no show has better captured the behind-the-scenes drama of the royal family then Netflix's The Crown. At the forefront of the show's early years was Claire Foy, who played a young Elizabeth II following her 1947 marriage. Her portrayal was critically acclaimed and would earn her the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Claire Foy attends the Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in 2018. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI

Olivia Colman -- 'The Crown' Seasons 3 and 4

With The Crown spanning the majority of the queen's life, different actors were used in later seasons to rapidly move through the decades. Olivia Colman portrayed a middle-aged Elizabeth II, and the mainstay British actress was lauded for her performance. She would go on to snag a BAFTA for her role.

Olivia Colman arrives for the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in March. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Imelda Staunton -- 'The Crown' Season 5 and 6

Critics are buzzing about Imelda Staunton's stint as an older Elizabeth II, and the seasons that she is in haven't even been released yet. Season 5 is said to focus on the 1990s and the turmoil that engulfed the royal family that decade, including the breakup of Charles and Diana. Season 6 will likely bring the series nearly to the modern day.

Imelda Staunton attends the World Charity premiere of "Three And Out" in London in 2008. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI

Sarah Gadon -- 'A Royal Night Out'

A rarely-seen take on the royal family, A Royal Night Out, stars Sarah Gadon as the then-Princess Elizabeth, who goes off on an adventure with her sister, Princess Margaret, to celebrate the end of World War II. The film got middle-of-the-range reviews from critics, though Gadon's performance was positively perceived. It is streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Sarah Gadon arrives on the red carpet for her "Spotlight On" talk during the 2014 Whistler Film Festival in Whistler, British Columbia. File Photo by Heinz Ruckemann/UPI

Jane Alexander -- 'William and Catherine: A Royal Romance'

Taking an in-depth look at the ups and downs of the relationship between Prince William and Kate Middleton, William and Catherine: A Royal Romance stars Jane Alexander as the queen. The 2011 made-for-TV series depicts Elizabeth II's role in the couple's lives as they attempt to stay together amidst the chaos of William's royal status. It's streaming on Tubi, Vudu and Pluto.

Jane Alexander arrives for the premiere of her new movie "FUR: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus" in New York City in 2006. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI

Additional portrayals have been performed by Stella Gonet in the 2021 Princess Diana biopic Spencer, which was critically acclaimed and nominated for several awards. Another famous portrayal is from Jeanette Charles, who spoofed the monarch in films like Austin Powers in Goldmember and National Lampoon's European Vacation.

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