- Pathé Pictures International
- Actors like Helen Mirren, Emily Blunt, and Judi Dench have taken on the roles of iconic queens like Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II.
- Both Colin Firth and Rupert Everett have taken on roles as kings for movies.
- Many actors, like Judi Dench and Colin Firth, have won awards for their portrayal of royal characters.
Royal families have dealt with triumphs, tragedies and power struggles for centuries – it’s no wonder why their stories or versions of them can sometimes lead to the creation of TV series and movies.
Many actors and actresses have had the chance to portray past and present royals in movies and TV shows inspired by both fact and fiction and some have resulted in award-winning performances that critics and viewers alike couldn’t get enough of while others have left critics a bit puzzled.
Here are some actors who aren’t quite royal, but have had a chance to wear the crown on screen.
Helen Mirren is the queen of royal roles in Hollywood.
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In the 1994 comedy, “The Madness of King George,” Mirren played Queen Charlotte, who tried to protect the British throne from enemies as King George III’s mental health declined. She also played Queen Elizabeth II in the motion picture, “The Queen,” a role which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007.
And Mirren’s not relinquishing the throne just yet. She will play the lead role in the upcoming “Catherine the Great,” an HBO miniseries about the life of the Russian monarch.
Before she played a nanny, Emily Blunt played a queen.
- GK Films/Wikimedia Commons
In 2006 Emily Blunt achieved breakout success as Meryl Streep’s icy assistant in “The Devil Wears Prada.” But before she landed the starring role in the 2018 “Mary Poppins” reboot, the British actress tackled her fair share of royal roles.
In 2003, Blunt played Queen Catherine Howard in a two-part television drama, “Henry VIII.” She made her way back to the throne in 2009 as Queen Victoria in “The Young Victoria,” the story of the queen’s journey to the throne and her relationship with her husband, Prince Albert. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in 2010.
Naomi Watts played Princess Diana in a biopic.
In 2013, Naomi Watts took on the title role in “Diana,” a biographical film about the last two years of Princess Diana’s life. And although Watts did her best to prepare for the role of “The People’s Princess,” the film was not well-received by British and American critics.
In its review, The Guardian called the film “an excruciatingly well-intentioned biopic laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue.”
Rupert Everett is no stranger to royal roles.
- Lions Gate Films/Wikimedia Commons
“My Best Friend’s Wedding” star, Rupert Everett has played royals four times. He was the Prince of Wales in “The Madness of King George” with Helen Mirren in 1994, King Charles I in “To Kill a King” in 2003, his successor King Charles II in “Stage Beauty” in 2004, and King George VI in “A Royal Night Out” in 2014.
But Everett’s royal experience isn’t just limited to live action films. He also voiced the fictional Prince Charming in all three “Shrek” animated films.
Colin Firth won big for his starring role in “The King’s Speech.”
- See-Saw Films/Wikimedia Commons
In 2010, Colin Firth starred as King George VI in “The King’s Speech.” He acted alongside Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter
The film, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2011, also earned Firth an Oscar, SAG, Golden Globe, and multiple BAFTA awards for his role.
“The Crown” welcomed Helena Bonham Carter to the royal family in season three.
Helena Bonham Carter takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, Princess Margaret in season three of the hit Netflix series, “The Crown.”
But she’s no stranger to taking on royal roles. She played Anne Boleyn, in the 2003 television movie, “Henry VIII.” She also played Colin Firth’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, in 2010’s “The King’s Speech.”
Cate Blanchett played Queen Elizabeth twice.
- PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/Wikimedia Commons
Actress Cate Blanchett had two chances to portray Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of VIII and Anne Boleyn. In 1998 she played the young queen in “Elizabeth,” which earned Blanchett a Golden Globe for best actress.
In 2007, she reprised the role of Queen Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” the biopic about the early years of the queen’s reign. Both pictures earned Blanchett Oscar nominations.
Leonardo DiCaprio does double duty in “The Man in the Iron Mask.”
- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Wikimedia Commons
Royal roles aren’t just for British actors. In 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio played a king on the big screen in “The Man in the Iron Mask.” The film tells the story of how the musketeers united to save France from the self-centered King Louis XIV whose arrogant ways threatened to make the country suffer.
DiCaprio plays the role of the king and his identical twin brother, Philippe, who he kept imprisoned and in an iron mask.
Eric Bana plays King Henry VIII in “The Other Boleyn Girl.”
- Columbia Pictures/Wikimedia Commons
Australian actor Eric Bana took on the role of King Henry VIII in the film adaptation of the Philippa Gregory novel, “The Other Boleyn Girl.” The story is based on the king’s affairs with sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn and their competition for the king’s affections. “The Other Boleyn Girl” also starred Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Scarlett Johansson as her sister, Mary.
Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”
- Netflix/Wikimedia Commons
British actress Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in the hit Netflix original “The Crown.” The award-winning series follows the early life of the queen and Foy’s role is later taken over by actress Olivia Colman, who plays an older version of the queen.
Margot Robbie has to protect the throne from enemies from within her own family.
- Focus Features LLC/Wikimedia Commons
Australian actress Margot Robbie spent months doing research and hours taking skating lessons to transform herself into notorious figure skater Tonya Harding in the award-winning 2017 film, “I, Tonya.”
Now, Robbie stars as Queen Elizabeth I in “Mary Queen of Scots.” The film tells the story of Mary Stuart, the queen of France as she battles with her cousin Queen Elizabeth I for the British throne.
Judi Dench’s Queen Elizabeth I won her an Oscar.
- Miramax Films/Wikimedia Commons
Dame Judi Dench began her acting career in British theater, working with both the prestigious National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Dench has been nominated for several awards for her work, including her portrayal of Queen Victoria in the 1997 indie film, “Mrs. Brown,”
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