TV & Movies

Eight Stars That Have Taken On The Role Of The Queen

Including Olivia Colman, Emma Thompson, and Claire Foy.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth
Netflix / Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

The fascinating life and ongoing reign of Queen Elizabeth II have been the subject of many major films and TV shows throughout the decades, with some of the world’s greatest acting talents taking on the coveted role of Her Majesty.

Academy Award-winning flicks such as 2006’s The Queen starring Helen Mirren and acclaimed streaming hits including Netflix’s The Crown, starring Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, have depicted some of the most notable moments in the life of the British monarch — including Her Majesty’s 1953 Coronation, her marriage with the late Duke of Edinburgh, her many highly-publicised state visits, the fallout from the death of Princess Diana, and much, much more.

Many of these onscreen portrayals have been well-received by audiences and critics alike. However, not every incarnation of the Queen has been met with quite as much praise – Neve Campbell’s lesser-known, and frankly bizarre, performance in Churchill: The Hollywood Years being a prime example.

Still, for any royal enthusiasts out there, it can be fun to look back at all the different actors who have taken on the role of Queen Elizabeth II over the years. To jog your memory, you can rediscover some of the biggest names in film and television who have dared to step into the shoes of Her Majesty below.

Claire Foy


When it comes to onscreen portrayals of the Queen, Netflix’s hugely popular royal drama The Crown is a great place to start. The series offers viewers an intense reimagining of the British monarchy's history, and for the drama’s first two seasons, the role of Her Majesty the Queen was taken on by actor Claire Foy, of First Man and Wolf Hall fame. Foy’s portrayal of the British monarch was deemed a hit with both critics and audiences, with Entertainment Weekly crediting the actor’s “amazingly restrained performance.”

Watch The Crown on Netflix.

Olivia Colman

The Crown / Netflix

Following in the footsteps of Clare Foy’s widely-acclaimed performance as the British monarch is the equally brilliant Olivia Colman, who took on the role of Queen Elizabeth II during the third and fourth seasons of Netflix’s The Crown. Colman portrayed the life of the Queen during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher and Diana Spencer’s introduction into the royal sphere. Like her predecessor, Colman’s performance was well-received by critics, with The Guardian praising the Oscar-winner’s “top-notch” performance.

Watch The Crown on Netflix.

Freya Wilson

Momentum Pictures / Paramount Pictures

Actor Freya Wilson portrayed a very young Queen Elizabeth II in the 2010 biographical film, The King’s Speech. Starring Colin Firth in the leading role, the Academy Award-winning flick tells the story of King George VI’s reign, and how he enlisted the help of a speech therapist in an attempt to overcome his stammer.

Per Insider, Wilson was joined in the cast by Ramona Marquez, who played Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister, Princess Margaret. The film took home a total of four gongs at the 2011 Oscars, including the award for Best Actor.

Watch The King’s Speech on Netflix.

Sarah Gadon

Directed by Julian Jarrold, the 2015 British comedy-drama A Royal Night Out stars Canadian actor Sarah Gadon (True Detective) as a teenage Princess Elizabeth, who, along with her younger sister Princess Margaret (played by Bel Powley), sneaks out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the general public. The film went down well with many critics upon release, with The Observer attributing A Royal Night Out’s “enormous charm” to the performances of the film’s three leads, including Gadon.

Watch A Royal Night Out on Amazon Prime.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren’s performance as the British monarch was given the seal of approval by the Queen herself, and, per the Guardian, even bagged the actor an invite to Buckingham Palace. Mirren portrayed Her Majesty in the 2006 biographical drama The Queen, which depicted the events that unfolded behind closed doors following the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997. Mirren received a wave of critical acclaim upon the film’s release, earning a string of accolades in the process including the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Watch The Queen on Amazon Prime Video.

Neve Campbell


Neve Campbell is perhaps best known for being terrorised by knife-wielding killers in the iconic Scream horror franchise. However, as Insider reports, the actor once appeared as Queen Elizabeth II in the World War II parody film, Churchill: The Hollywood Years. The film received a lukewarm response from critics. However, according to one review, Campbell managed to pull off a “surprisingly winning comic performance.”

Watch Churchill: The Hollywood Years on Amazon Prime Video.

Julie Walters

The 2019 comedy The Queen’s Corgi follows the story of her majesty’s beloved pup Rex, who is used to living a life of luxury on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. However, Rex winds up stuck in a London dog’s home where he must learn to toughen up in order to escape. This animated flick features voiceover performances from the likes of Jack Whitehall, Ray Winstone, and Sheridan Smith — and cartoon Queen Elizabeth II is voiced by British acting legend, Julie Walters. Unfortunately, the film was widely disliked by critics, with some noting that the family-friendly film is actually not very suitable for children.

Watch The Queen’s Corgi on Amazon Prime Video

Emma Thompson

The eighth episode of the 2012 anthology series Playhouse Presents stars Nanny McPhee’s and Love Actually’s Emma Thompson. Per Vogue, the episode depicts a real-life event that occurred back in the summer of 1982, when a man named Michael Fagan broke into the grounds of Buckingham Palace and sneaked inside Queen Elizabeth II’s bedroom (a scene that was recreated in the fourth season of Netflix’s The Crown).

Watch Walking the Dogs on