Dame Helen Mirren remembers the Queen as the ‘nation’s leading star’ at Baftas

Dame Helen Mirren has remembered the Queen as the “nation’s leading star” as she lead a special tribute to the late monarch at the Bafta film awards.

The veteran actress, 77, has portrayed the monarch on stage and screen, winning an Oscar and Bafta for her depiction in 2006’s biographical drama The Queen.

The late Queen had a close association with the Academy spanning 50 years which saw her donate to and support initiatives, as well as attend many events.

The Queen receiving an honorary Bafta from Kenneth Branagh in recognition of a lifetime’s support of British film and television in 2013 (PA)

Taking to the stage at this year’s award ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, Bafta fellow Dame Helen said: “Bafta’s relationship with Her Majesty was longstanding and Bafta would not be what it is today without her loyal support.

“In 1953, her coronation broadcast had the world watching. From that time, she was unquestionably the nation’s leading lady but as mysterious as a silent film star.

“Who else could meet the world’s most famous singers, actors and performers and turn them into her supporting cast.

“Throughout her 70-year reign, she met cinema’s greatest icons and witnessed the evolution of Hollywood’s golden age to the birth of the blockbuster. Her Majesty was front row for it all.”

The actress also referenced the more than 50 cultural organisations the late monarch supported during her lifetime and the honorary Bafta award she received in 2013 in recognition for her “outstanding patronage of the film and television industries”.

Dame Helen continued: “Cinema at its best, does what Her Majesty did effortlessly – bring us together and unite us in a story…

“Your Majesty, you are our nation’s leading star. On behalf of Bafta, thank you for all that you have done for our film and television industry.”

In 1972, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh donated the profits from the documentary film Royal Family to the Society of Film and Television Arts (SFTA), which later became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta), for a new headquarters.

The renaming of the organisation occurred during the official opening of the headquarters in 1976, which was conducted by the Queen. It remains the London home of Bafta five decades on.

During her lifetime, the Queen was a patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Variety Charity and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.

The Queen’s grandson, the Prince of Wales, has been the president of Bafta since 2010.