Helen Mirren has a complex relationship with the Windsors, says Piers Morgan in British GQ. “My father and my mother vehemently hated the monarchy,” the British actress says. “They thought it was a complete waste of time and money, and couldn’t work out why anyone would allow this family to live in such luxury at our expense.” Mirren inherited that contempt herself; it boiled over during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, in 1977. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—street parties, Union Jacks everywhere, all these people coming out to say, ‘Gawd bless ’er, she’s lovely, ain’t she?’ I was so grumpy about it—seeing all these working-class people applauding and loving this elitist institution.” But ever since winning an Oscar for playing Elizabeth II in The Queen, Mirren has softened. “I now think, ‘Why can’t people be left to enjoy what they want to enjoy, and have a party and love the Queen if they want to?” Indeed, when the Queen invited her to Ascot this summer, she accepted gladly. “I think it was a gesture to say, ‘It’s okay, we’re cool about the film.’” The royals certainly avoided any chance of friction. “The Queen said, ‘Hello, it’s lovely to meet you.’ And that was about it, other than horsey chat. The Duke just talked about the sandwiches.”
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