Helen Mirren declines to dine with the Queen

Helen Mirren has sent her regrets to Queen Elizabeth II, who invited Mirren to dine at Buckingham Palace. According to the Daily Mail, the RSVP spelled s-n-u-b:

“It is unheard of for Her Majesty to extend a personal invitation to dinner to someone who has portrayed her in a film. We did not expect to be told that the date is unacceptable.”

And why was the date unacceptable to Mirren? Well, because she’s busy filming National Treasure: Book of Secrets in South Dakota, of course.

I adore you, Ms. Mirren, but we are not amused. After all, Americans love the Queen. Probably a lot more than we’re going to love National Treasure: Book of Secrets. And anyway, didn’t you yourself say that you owe your Oscar to Her Majesty? Here’s hoping she doesn’t decide to collect.

Nah, I’m kidding — who cares, really? It’s not like Mirren is likely to play another royal in her lifetime, so a little blue-blooded ill will isn’t going to hurt her. And she’s not the first British star to dis Buckingham Palace: David Bowie refused knighthood (he’s already the Thin White Duke anyway). Vanessa Redgrave and Nigella Lawson have also declined royal honors, as have hundreds of others.

Jeanette Winterson, on the other hand, accepted an OBE last year, which is sort of surprising. I suppose it all depends on whether you want to make a statement. And you could argue that in Mirren’s case, the dinner invitation is a bigger deal than any sort of award; it’s sort of like Darrell Hammond or Dana Carvey refusing to go to the White House to meet the president he’d made a career of mocking. As if an American celebrity would ever miss such a photo opportunity.

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