Dame Helen Mirren remembered the late Queen Elizabeth as the "leading star" of the nation.
The 77-year-old actress led a tribute to Her Late Majesty - who died in September at the age of 96 following a 70-year reign - at the 76th EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday (19.02.23) and noted that the late monarch was able to "effortlessly unite" the country in a way that cinema can only do when it is at its finest.
Speaking live on stage at the Royal Festival Hall, she said: "BAFTA's relationship with Her Majesty was longstanding and BAFTA would not be what it is today without her loyal support. She supported over 50 cultural organizations 2013, it was her turn to be honoured with a BAFTA in recognition of the Queen's outstanding patronage of the film and television industries. Cinema, at its best, does what Her Majesty did so effortlessly, bring us together and unite us in a story. Your Majesty, you were our nation's leading star. On behalf of BAFTA, thank you for everything you have done for our film and television industry."
After finishing her speech, the Academy Award-winning star - who played Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 biopic 'The Queen' - was greeted with rapturous applause and cameras caught the late monarch's grandson William, Prince of Wales on the verge of tears as sat next to his wife Catherine.
A montage of BAFTA winners from over the years then played, with an old recording of Queen Elizabeth being played in the background where she spoke about the "creative genius" of those who work in the arts.
She said: "Through the creative genius of artists, whether they be writers, actors filmmakers, dancers or musicians, we can see both the range of our cultures and the elements of our shared humanity."