(2006, Stephen Frears)
“Nowadays people want glamour and tears, the grand performance. I’ve never been good at that”
For the British, one of the most infamous events of the nineties was the death of Princess Diana. Diana was a popular figure, winning the hearts of many of the British public, resulting in a huge outpouring of emotion following her death. This is a movie about that time, told from the perspective of the titular royal figurehead, Queen Elizabeth, known as Lizzie to her friends or simply The Queen.
It’s 1997, and Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) has just been appointed prime minister, and the nation is celebrating, although Queen Liz (Helen Mirren) is sceptical of him. Then tragedy strikes when news comes in from France that Diana Spencer, ex-wife to Prince Charles, has been killed in a car crash. In line with tradition, the royals head up to their residence in Balmoral, Scotland for a period of private mourning, refusing to acknowledge Diana as an official royal and therefore feeling no need to make a statement on her death or hold a state funeral.
However, the princess’ popularity with the British public is putting Elizabeth under pressure to go against this, and demand for a public statement and a state funeral is high. Blair is using this to his advantage, attempting to maintain his public position as a popular PM (haha, nope, can’t take that sentence seriously…), which isn’t helping the royal position. It’s now up to Liz to try and decide whether to bow to public pressure or stick to royal protocol.