A mysterious king, endlessly scrutinized on stage and on screen

She was the most obscure celebrity, and a silent movie star that somehow thrived in the TikTok world. If no one knows except her best friend and family Queen Elizabeth It really was, that’s exactly what she wanted.

Her royal reserve, her unsentimental expressions, her resistance to personal revelation – all made the Queen, who died Thursday At 96, an irresistible subject of fanciful speculation. It was a blueprint for a woman that people could fill in no matter what they imagined. And they filled it up. Over the years, Elizabeth has been a character in an endless string of feature films, films, and TV series made for television — biographies, satire, drama, comedy, you name it — as well as in documentaries, theatrical, musical and episodic films. a novel.

Her life was remarkable for being long, and her reign was remarkable for containing so much history. But no one was beheaded, no one was plotted, no one was imprisoned in a tower. The drama about her predecessors on the job — Elizabeth I, Henry V, Henry VIII, and Richard II, to name a few — is full of grand intrigue and great peril. The drama about Elizabeth II was more inward-looking, all trying to address the vexing and unanswerable question: What kind of person was she?

The number of actors who have wrestled with this issue is uncountable. The Crown alone needed three different women to portray Elizabeth in different eras of her life: Claire Foy in her early life, middle-aged Olivia Colman, and Imelda Staunton as queen in winter.

Here are some additional highlights of Queen Elizabeth’s portrayal in film and on stage, and sometimes in fiction, over the years.

Elizabeth’s early years were marked by two catastrophic events: her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936, automatically propelling her fragile father to the position of king and placing her next in the line of succession. and World War II, which took place when she was still a teenager.

in “King’s speech(2010), the young Princess Elizabeth, played by Freya Wilson, appears briefly in the backdrop to the drama about her father’s efforts, now King George VI, to overcome his stuttering and address the nation with confidence and authority when Britain enters war, in 1939. (Real-Life Queen He was said to have found the film “moving and interesting.“)

A royal night out(2015) takes place amid the euphoria of VE Day in London in 1945. Set off from Buckingham Palace to mingle, disguised, with ecstatic crowds, Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and her younger sister, Princess Margaret (Bill Powley), indulge in a boisterous night of drinking, dancing and flirting Go into the fountain and ride the city bus.

In an attempt to demystify themselves that they later regret, in 1969 Al Windsor was the subject of a 90-minute documentary, “Royal family.” Watched by 37 million Britons, it included scenes in which Prince Philip attempted to cook sausages on a barbecue, Prince Charles went water skiing and the Queen fed carrots to her horses. The Queen later ordered that the film not be broadcast againto decide that he might have shed too much light on her family.

In 1982, an unemployed home painter broke into Buckingham Palace and He made his way to the queen’s bedroomHe stayed for at least 10 minutes until help arrived. No documentary footage, but actress Emma Thompson played Elizabeth in Walking the Dogs, 2012 TV drama from the accident.

The Queen appears numerous times in countless dramas dedicated to the disastrous marriage between her son Charles and his wife Diana, Princess of Wales. Their function is usually to express horror at their dysfunction or to record their disapproval of how their non-royal behavior affects their children, families, and the monarchy.

Examples of selection of this type include “The Princess in Love” A trivial film about how Diana cheated on Charles with James Hewitt, an army captain, much to the dismay of the Queen (Lisa Danielle). There is also “Whatever the meaning of love,” An equally trivial account of the adulterous romance between Prince Charles and his ex-girlfriend and future wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, played by Queen Stella McCusker. The latest developments, “Spencer(2021), starring Kristen Stewart as the mentally fragile Diana and Stella Gunnett as Elizabeth, alternately disturbing and incomprehensible as her daughter-in-law unfolds before her eyes.

And before The Crown, there was a Stephen Frears movie.the Queen“(2006) group In the bewildering days when Britain raged in grief and anger After Diana’s shock the death In a car crash, in 1997. The conservative and bound by tradition, played by Helen Mirren, is shown grappling with her own personal struggles as she is repeatedly forced to bow to patriotic pressure and express herself in public.

Veteran actress Judy Kay has appeared as Elizabeth Wise, giving scathing advice on marriage and fidelity to a disoriented Prince Charles, in the short-lived Broadway production of the movie “Diana: the musical(2021).

Video versions of the three plays were broadcast on television.

is not it Fun to imagine That the closed queen is in fact full of corruption and spontaneity? in “The Bare Gun: From the Police Squad Files!(1988), Elizabeth (Janet Charles, who oddly resembles a real king She kept upcoming roles over the years) for some reason attends an Angels-Mariners baseball game at Dodger Stadium. She threw the first pitch, participated in The Wave and was saved from an assassination plot when character Leslie Nielsen, on a big break with royal protocol, wrestles her with his body.

Charles reprized her role as Elizabeth in other films, including “European National Spelling Leave“(1985), where she meets Chevy Chase in a reception line in a dream sequence, and the sarcastic spy”Austin Powers in Goldmember(2002), in which Knights of the title character, played by Mike Myers.

On “Saturday Night Live” in 2010, Fred Armisen imagined the Queen as A braggart, hateful East End gangster. Using a Cockney accent, Elizabeth threatens and threatens Kate Middleton, who has been newly engaged to Prince William, the moment the Prince leaves the room. (Bill Hader played the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, as a boxer in equal measure.)

similarly, Jon Squibb embodied in the crowd At Wimbledon in Andy Samberg’s satirical movie “Seven days in hell(2015), giving the royal finger patriotically to the non-British competitor.

The younger generation of the royal family has appeared in several television melodramas ripped from the headlines. The romance between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for example, has been the subject of three lifelong TV movies (so far). actress Maggie Sullivan played the Queen For each of these.

In another Lifetime movie, “William & Catherine: A Royal Romance” (2011), Jane Alexander received honors as Queen, and adapted to her grandson’s decision to marry commoners.

One of the huge questions about the Queen was what her fictional life was like, beyond her known interests in things like dogs and horses. in A charming novel “The Unfamiliar Reader” British writer Alan Bennett conjures up an alternate reality in which Elizabeth talks to a mobile library outside Buckingham Palace that changes her forever.

At first, I read easier books by authors like Ivy Compton-Burnett and Nancy Mitford. She quickly engages with Proust, discusses Jean Genet with the President of France and delves into the biographies of Sylvia Plath. She finds that reading gives her a better understanding of others and, ironically, allows her to lose herself in anonymity and isolation.

“She who lived a separate life now found it yearning,” Bennett writes. “Here in these pages and between these covers, she may not be recognized.”

It was the perfect expression of Elizabeth’s rare ability to be everywhere at once without giving up on herself, and the most subtle glimpse of her sense of humor. As the world watched the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he found, to his delight, that the Queen was playing along.

short film that helped end the party, James Bond (black-tie Daniel Craig) opened at Buckingham Palace, dodging many royal corgi and enter the king’s office. She was at her desk, shimmering in pink. “Good evening, Mr. Bond,” she said.

The two then flew by helicopter through London and parachuted down to the Olympic Stadium – no surprise Elizabeth had a stunt double for this part – before the movie ended. Then the real Queen, in the same pink outfit, sat regal on her seat while the audience in the stadium banged their pleasing nod. You may have been touched or overjoyed. It was impossible to know.

Her face was completely unemotional.

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