Helen Mirren Fulfills Little Boy’s Dream of Tea With the Queen
I'm In A Glass Case of Emotion
Have you ever seen a kid at a Disney park who is clearly just so into that character interact with the cast member playing that character? And it doesn’t matter to that kid that the cast member doesn’t have exactly the same voice, or isn’t actually a cartoon character in real life: they know they’re meeting their hero, and it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to them.
Well, that’s basically what happened here, except the “character” was Queen Elizabeth II, and the “cast member” was Helen Mirren.
10-year-old Oliver Burton is fighting his third battle with leukaemia, which he was diagnosed with at the age of three. With this third relapse, and his treatment complicated by the effects of Downs Syndrome, his parents have been told he has only weeks or months to live. Oliver’s greatest wish was to meet and have tea with Queen Elizabeth II, and when news of this reached the ears of Helen Mirren from the National Children’s Tumour Leukaemia Cancer Trust she decided to spring into action.
Hellen arranged, from her own pocket, for Oliver and his parents to receive tickets to her award winning play The Audience in which she plays the Queen. Afterwards, she invited Oliver and his mother backstage where she offered them tea and sandwiches in costume and in character. Oliver’s parents were a little worried that she might be stern in person: Mirren recently made minor headlines by storming out of her theater in full costume to berate a troop of drummers on the street outside because their music was intruding on the play. But Oliver’s father told The Daily Mail “She really was lovely.”
She stayed in character for the whole thing. Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that’s good enough for us… She did the whole thing – had a butler there, was dressed in costume and did it all properly for him.
She sat in Oliver’s wheelchair and gave him her big chair. She had a glass of coke together and biscuits and little sandwiches and they even brought in her corgis from the show, Coco and Roco. She was wonderful and in some of the photos you do a double take because she really does look like the real Queen.
…He took his British flag and got her to sign it and just waved and waved it all day.
Mirren even made a show of knighting Oliver, telling him that everyone had to call him Sir Oliver from now on.
So if you’ve ever dressed up in costume and pleased a child, whether professionally or just because cosplay is fun, remember: Helen Mirren totally gets it.
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