Her face is on countless stamps, teacups and coins. But whos hiding behind that face? Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, is still a mystery at 95. And therefore a grateful source of inspiration for filmmakers and writers. Five watch and read tips on The Queens birthday.
Film: The Queen
Helen Mirren is brilliant as the introvert, inexorable queen in The Queen (2006). After Princess Dianas tragic car accident, Elizabeth sees how her popularity comes under pressure because she initially refuses to abandon protocol and consider the death of her ex-daughter-in-law a private matter. Mirren won an Oscar for best female lead for her performance as the British queen.
Unforgettable scene: Elizabeth lies in bed and her husband Philip wants to crawl with her. “Move over, Cabbage”, he commands her. A pet name that Philip seems to have used for his wife in real life.
Also fine, her first meeting with Tony Blair, played by Martin Sheen, in which she puts the newly elected Prime Minister in place: “Yes well, you are my tenth Prime Minister, Mr Blair. My first, of course, was Winston Churchill, he sat in your chair in a frock coat and top hat. And he was kind enough to give a shy young girl like me quite an education.”
2. Book: The Uncommon Reader
Writer and director Alan Bennet wrote this gem in 2006. In The Uncommon Reader, an incredibly funny novella, The Queen ends up in the library bus behind Buckingham Palace. Then, with the help of Norman, the kitchen doorman, she develops into a reading enthusiast who wont turn her hand for Marcel Proust anymore.
No one is happy with this whim, not her court, not the people, nor the prime minister: “I would have thought”, said the prime minister, “that Your Majesty was above literature.”
“ Above literature?” said the Queen. “Who is above literature? You might as well say one is above humanity.”
3. Book: The Secret Guests
John Banville published last year under the name of his alter-ego Benjamin Black the entertaining novel The Secret Guests. In 1940 the Elizabeth (14) and Margaret (10) ended up in Ireland during the Blitz. The girls receive aliases, Mary and Ellen, and are transferred with two security guards to the country house Clonmillis House of their distant relative, the Duke of Edenmore. The royal sisters here are supposed to be safe from war bombs, but from the IRA threatens new danger. Elizabeth is portrayed in the novel as an extremely serious, well-educated but also a bit frightened child who loves horseback riding. Margaret sparkles more in the novel, she already has all the elements of the bitchy character you see in The Crown.
4. Series: The Crown
Closer to the British royal family, you cant come with the immensely successful Netflix series The Crown. So close that Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies, both playing the role of the Duke of Edinburgh in the series, gave the royal family condolences on the death of Prince Philip.
And so close that last year at the launch of Season 4 the discussion flourished whether there should be no disclaimer in the episodes that although the series is based on facts, the screenwriter Peter Morgan takes all the freedoms for fiction where the story is for the better Comes. Something Netflix doesnt do, by the way.
From the series, viewers still have two seasons. The recordings of series 5 start if its okay in July. Actress Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films) takes over the role of The Queen from Olivia Colman in the new season. In the first two seasons, the young Queen Elizabeth was played by Claire Foy.
5. Book: The Windsor Not
The British youth book writer Sophia Bennet wrote her first adult novel with Queen Elizabeth in the lead role. The Queen solves a murder mystery in the detective The Windsor Not, who appears in the Dutch translation The Murder of Windsor Castle on her birthday. In The Murder of Windsor Castle, the British prince successfully investigates when a Russian pianist is murdered after a slumber party at her castle. The writer was inspired by the book when watching the second season of the Netflix series The Crown.