The Queen

Although I already expected Helen Mirren ("Calendar Girls" and "Greenfingers") to be wonderful, I didn't realize what a huge role Tony Blair played during that week between Princess Di's death and the services for her at Westminster Abbey. Michael Sheen ("Music Within" and "Blood Diamond") portrayed Prime Minister Tony Blair; evidently he has played that role in some other film, as well. He is very good and extremely believable as Blair.

Interesting tidbits, I assume they are true:
  • The royal family was at Balmoral in Scotland and the Queen had no intention of going to London. She maintained that since Di was no longer "HRH" the planning and execution of the funeral was to be left strictly to Di's family.
  • The Queen fully believed that the British looked to her for a dignified and restrained response to Di's death. "This dignity is why the world looks up to the British." Ergo, no public statements or rituals.
  • Prince Philip took the boys "stalking" (deer hunting) and they were isolated with no radio, newspapers or telly.
  • Prince Charles correctly read the mood of the crowd and fully expected to be assassinated.
  • The Queen drives her own Land Rover in Scotland.
  • Tony Blair had barely become Prime Minister when the princess was killed. His urging of the Queen to make a statement was not welcome.
  • The flag over Buckingham, like flags over most royal palaces, is there to signify whether or not the royal is in residence. The British expected a Union Jack to be flown at half-mast and when it wasn't, it generated unbelievable resentment.
  • In the interests of time, they used the basic plan that had been worked out in anticipation of the Queen Mother's funeral (much to HER indignation) substituting movie stars, dress designers and rock stars for heads of state. Had to do in a pinch!
  • When Elizabeth yielded and made a televised statement, it was construed as a major victory to the anti-monarchists (Blair's wife being among them).
  • Blair and the Queen have developed a warm friendship with mutual respect.
The movie is cleverly done, interspersing old TV clips with current (but grainy looking) bits that also look like TV clips but which feature the actors. Television plays a HUGE part for all concerned. Everyone is riveted by the events, the PM's staff, the Queen's staff, the PM, the Queen, Prince Philip (although he is enraged by it and turns it off whenever he can). The amount of personal detail in this depiction is notable. I have to assume it has been authenticated. Can a Queen sue for defamation?