Monday, September 03, 2007

Helen Mirren and the Queen: Did they?

The Evening Standard's The Londoner’s Diary gossip column reports confidently that HM has not seen The Queen – first shown on British TV last night. This contradicts my information – she viewed the movie some time ago and found it irritating in places but not entirely inaccurate – hence the warmth extended to her celluloid doppelgänger Helen Mirren through the media. The Queen will never endorse a movie beyond acknowledging Mirren's great success.

Asked by the Chicago Tribune on August 28 whether she thought the sovereign had watched Stephen Frears’ movie, Mirren said: “I don't know directly. I can't imagine that she didn't. I very, very much imagine that she did.” Anyone who knows the regal, onetime anti-monarchist Mirren would take that as a diplomatic “yes”. On set these days she’s more royal than Princess Michael of Kent.

Another surprise: I hadn’t realised Mirren and the Queen had had their lunch at Buckingham Palace, as reported in the Diary – this certainly went un(der)-reported. There’s no mention of it in the Nexis or Court Circular archives, but Arcati is fallible. I suppose it could have happened: perhaps someone will furnish some detail here. [They have not lunched - see above posting]

What did I think of the film? Comic in tone, content and spirit. No one in the establishment (except her sons) could give a flying fuck about Diana while millions of flower buyers bawled. It’s a very English, stiff-upper lip response to the real-life histrionics. The character most maligned in the film is Prince Charles - depicted as a snivelling, creepy egotist only concerned with his PR, post-Di. I liked the scene where HM scornfully switches off the TV the moment Camilla's name is mentioned. The film as a whole is not as affectionate as I had been led to believe by critics: it is a sweet satire that will sharpen as Diana's memory dissolves.

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