The Queen
Thequeen poster
The Queen theatrical poster

Directed By:

Stephen Frears

Written By:

Peter Morgan

Release Year:



Pathe Pictures


The Queen is an awarding winning film set in 1997 when Tony Blair has just won the General Election and has been newly appointed as Prime Minister, and Diana, the Princess of Wales has died in a car crash in Paris.


  • Michael Sheen - Tony Blair
  • Helen Mirren - Queen Elizabeth II
  • James Cromwell - Prince Philip
  • Alex Jennings - Prince Charles
  • Helen McCrory - Cherie Blair
  • Jake Taylor Shantos - Prince William
  • Dash Barber - Prince Harry


During a visit to Paris, Diana, Princess of Wales dies in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell, immediately prepares a speech in which he describes her as "the people's princess." Blair gives the speech the next morning and the phrase catches on immediately. Over the next few days, the British people erupt in an outpouring of grief, as millions flock to Buckingham and Kensington palaces to leave floral tributes and notes.

Meanwhile, the Royal Family are still on holiday at Balmoral Castle, the Queen's estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Diana's death immediately sparks division among senior members of the family. The Queen observes that, since Diana divorced from Charles, Prince of Wales a year earlier, she is no longer a member of the Royal Family. Consequently, she insists that the funeral arrangements are a "private affair" and are best left to the princess' own family, the Spencers. A visibly grief stricken Prince Charles, argues that the mother of a future King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland cannot be dismissed so lightly. Following her mother's suggestion, the Queen eventually sanctions the use of an aircraft of the Royal Flight to bring Diana's body back to Britain. Charles ensures that his ex-wife's coffin is draped with a Royal Standard instead of remaining a "wooden crate."

In London, bouquets begin to pile up along the palace railings, forcing the changing of the guard to use another gate. Meanwhile, British tabloids become increasingly inflammatory about the lack of any statement by the Royal Family. Prince Charles, during a brief conversation with Blair and later through back-channel contacts, leaves no doubt that he shares the Prime Minister's views about the need for a more public expression of grief. As the Queen's ratings plummet, Blair's popularity rises sharply, to the delight of the Prime Minister's Anti-Monarchist advisers and his wife, Cherie.

Blair, however, does not share these sentiments. Despite not concurring with the Queen's course of action, he admires her and tells his wife that a Republican Britain is a ludicrous idea. Later on, he angrily denounces the anti-royal disdain of his Labour advisors and accuses Diana of having tried to destroy everything which the monarchy stands for. After days of building pressure, Blair calls the Queen at Balmoral and urgently recommends a course of action he believes is needed to retain (or regain) the public's confidence in the monarchy. These measures include attending a public funeral for Diana at Westminster Abbey, flying a Union Jack at half mast over Buckingham Palace (an unprecedented step in four centuries of royal protocol), and speaking to the nation about Diana's legacy in a live, televised address from the palace.

Blair's recommendations outrage the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother. Philip is also surprised that Elton John is asked to attend and sing a song (Candle in the Wind) in Diana's honour. They view such steps as an undignified surrender to public hysteria, created by the tabloids, that will eventually calm down when the public comes to its senses. The Queen seems more concerned about this and although she shares their feelings, she begins to have doubts as she closely follows the news coverage.

Speaking with her mother, the Queen muses that there has been some shift in public values, that perhaps she should step aside and hand over the monarchy to the next generation. Her mother dismisses these ideas, however, saying that she is one of the greatest assets the monarchy has ever had, adding, "The real problem will come when you leave."

The Queen Mother also reminds the Queen of the promise she made in Cape Town, South Africa, on April 21, 1947, her 21st birthday, in which she promised that her "whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong ..."

Later at Balmoral, Philip attempts to distract his grandsons from their mother's death by taking them deer stalking. While venturing out alone in her Land Rover, the Queen damages her vehicle while fording a river and has to call for assistance. While waiting, she weeps in frustration but then catches sight of the majestic Red Deer stag which her grandsons have been stalking. Hearing a distant gunshot, she shoos the animal away.

Later that day, the Queen decides to carry out the recommendations of Blair. While preparing to leave for London, she is horrified to learn that the stag has been killed on a neighbouring estate, by a visiting stockbroker. She visits the estate where the stag is being dressed and expresses dismay at the amateurish way it was hunted.

In the film's climax, the Royal Family returns to London and inspect the floral tributes. The Queen also goes on live television to speak about Diana's life and legacy, even going so far as calling her "an exceptional and gifted human being." Two months later, Blair comes to the palace for a weekly meeting. The Queen has regained her popularity but believes she will never quite fully recover from "that week." She cautions Blair that one day he too will find that public opinion can rapidly turn against him. She declares, however, that times have changed and that the monarchy must "modernise."

When Blair suggests that he can help with this, she responds, "Don't get ahead of yourself Prime Minister. Remember, I'm supposed to be the one advising you"

Michael was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for this role.