Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth for dying boy when real monarch can’t

Helen Mirren was pretty persuasive playing Queen Elizabeth in “The Queen,” winning the best actress Oscar. But she may just have given an even more compelling performance as the English monarch for a terminally ill 10-year-old boy.

Oliver Burton, who has Down syndrome and has been diagnosed with cancer in his spine and bone marrow, wanted as a dying wish to meet the real Queen of England at Buckingham Palace, but the queen’s schedule prevented a get-together.

According to a report in London’s Sun, the National Children’s Tumour Leukaemia Cancer Trust notified Mirren of the boy’s wishes.


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The actress, who is playing the queen in the play “The Audience” in a London theater, sent a car to fetch Burton. Mirren brought him to a performance of the play and remained in character afterward, knighting him backstage and letting him play with the queen’s stage corgis.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet such a brave young man,” Mirren said afterward.

Burton’s father, James Browne, said, “She stayed in character for the whole thing. Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that’s good enough for us.”

It’s the second time the 67-year-old Mirren, who won the Laurence Olivier Award, Britain’s highest stage honor, for her performance, has made international headlines for the play.

Earlier this month, the actress left the Gielgud Theatre during intermission of the play — in full costume — to berate drummers who had taken to London streets to promote a music festival.


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