Whether you have been engrossed in Netflix’s The Crown or have just started your journey into the world of fictional royalty – here’s your guide to the Queen in film and television.
The Queen’s reign has unfolded alongside an ever-changing global landscape from the technological revolution of the past 40 years to the rise and fall of dictatorships, borders and political leaders.
However, throughout her tenure the Queen’s character and actions faced not only the court of public opinion but found a home in the media we consume. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of (nearly) everything she appeared in.
In one of the most watched monarch-centred adaptations, The Crown on Netflix has won a plethora of trophies including at the Golden Globes, Emmy’s and Critics Choice awards.
The series, which has chronologically followed the Queen’s seven-decade long reign, mixes creative liberty with real historical events to capture the monarch’s involvement in some of the biggest stories of her reign, while also exploring the intensity of their family drama and politics.
Claire Foy played the Queen in seasons 1 and 2, Olivia Colman took over the role in seasons 3 and 4 and finally Imelda Staunton assumed the role in the final seasons.
A Royal Night Out
If you are looking for a lighter watch then the feature length film A Royal Night Out mixes comedy and monarchy. Unlike The Crown, A Royal Night Out focuses on one night in the Queen’s life. Or, as she was better known at the time, the Princess.
It explores what may have happened on the night WWII ended and what shenanigans Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret may have got up to on their last night of young adulthood.
Sarah Gadon plays the fictional future Queen in this tongue-in-cheek comedy.
For a more unique perspective of the Queen look no further than Her Majesty, a New Zealand based coming-of-age film that follows a small town young girl, Elizabeth, who dreams of meeting The Queen.
When Elizabeth strikes up an unlikely friendship with a woman named Hira, one of the Maori people indigenous to the land, what follows is a journey of historical discovery.
The Queen, played by Rachel Wallis, soon becomes involved in a moment of reckoning between the past and the future.
The Helen Mirren led cast of this biographical drama documents the Queen and extended royal family in the weeks surrounding the infamous death of Princess Diana. The hard-hitting film won numerous awards and landed Mirren an Academy Award as best actress for her depiction of the Queen.
The Royal Romances
Alongside the Queen come the dramatic love lives of her grandchildren, Prince Harry and Prince William. Made-for-TV films William and Kate: A Royal Romance and Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance document a semi-fictionalised version of their stories, including a healthy appearance from the Queen herself, albeit in fictional form.
Jane Alexander stepped into the shoes of Her Majesty in William and Kate’s film while Maggie Sullivun assumed the role in Harry and Meghan’s film.
If you are particular fan of the in-depth cheesy look into these royal romances, you can also watch the sequel Harry and Meghan: Becoming Royal.
Willi und die Windzors
Leaving the cheesiness behind, this indie German film made in 1996 imagines a world in which the Queen is not only expelled from Buckingham Palace, but England itself.
Finding themselves in Germany, the royals meet up with some German relatives and soon wreak havoc on their lives. A must-see for any fictional royal connoisseur with Irm Hermann as the Queen.
Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, subsequent divorce and death has been the centre of royal controversy for decades.
The dramatic saga of her life has been fictionalised throughout the years, and often included the Queen herself as a prominent secondary character.
In 2021 Kristen Stewart’s Spencer was released to critical acclaim. There are also some made-for-TV movies including: Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story, Diana: Her True Story, Princess in Love and Whatever Love Means.
The Queen and I
Based on the satirical novel by Sue Townsend, The Queen and I, poses the question – what if the Queen had to live on a council estate?
After the UK chooses to become a republic, the Royal Family is moved out and soon has to get used to a life that many of their (ex) subjects experience.
This edgy British comedy stars Samantha Bond as The Queen.
The Jeannette Charles Cinematic Universe
In 1972 British actor Jeannette Charles had a painting of herself commissioned that was quickly mistaken as a portrait of the Queen herself.
And thus began a lucrative career playing the Queen in a number of film and TV projects across the world.
A full list of her appearances is on her IMDb with highlights including: The Naked Gun: From The Files of Police Squad! and Austin Powers in Goldmember.
The King’s Speech
The award-winning film The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth follows the Queen’s father, King George VI, as he grapples with his sudden ascension to the throne.
The plot follows him confronting his speech impediment with the help of an eccentric mentor. A very young Queen does make an appearance played by Freya Wilson.