Many celebrities choose to remain coy on the subject of their meetings with Queen Elizabeth II, but Naomie Harris, who was presented with an OBE for services to drama by HRH, broke with convention to gush over the Queen’s youthful complexion. “I was impressed by how youthful she looked,” she told reporters. “She looked incredibly young and really healthy – and she has good skin.”
And she’s not the only one who has shed some insight into what it’s really like to meet the queen…
Madonna, who met the Queen at the premiere of James Bond movie Die Another Day, in which she took on a cameo role as a fencing instructor, struggled to contain a fit of giggles when she overheard her majesty asking John Cleese (who played Q in the film), “And what do you do?” The star claims that, although she had never met her before, “surprisingly I wasn’t nervous”.
Helen Mirren, who has famously played the Queen on stage and screen, also reported feeling “overwhelmed” by her first meeting with her majesty. Although she has now met her muse multiple times, she admits that she still gets starstruck, “Even more so I think because I feel self-conscious. You’re thinking: ‘It’s the Queen, it’s the Queen’. I am genuinely always astounded by her aura, her twinkle, her presence. It never fails to surprise me.”
The likes of Gillian Anderson and Eddie Redmayne, who met Queen Elizabeth following a theatrical production to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, were less forthcoming, with Anderson stating simply that she was “absolutely fascinated” to meet the Queen, and Redmayne declaring the encounter “a huge amount of fun, actually”.
Perhaps the funniest story, though, comes courtesy of Lewis Hamilton, who was seated next to the Queen at a luncheon function.
“I was excited and started to talk to her but she said, pointing to my left, ‘No, you speak that way first and I’ll speak this way and then I’ll come back to you’,” he told Graham Norton. Embarrasingly, Hamilton had not been advised that the Queen always speaks to the guest to her right (the guest of honour) for the duration of the first course. Apparently, though, he was forgiven his faux pas. “She is a sweet woman and we talked about how she spends her weekends, houses and music,” the Formula 1 driver continued. “She is really cool.”