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When actors who have played royals met the actual royal family

Helen Mirren's reaction to meeting the Queen, after playing her twice, is just hilarious

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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The royal family is a constant source of fascination for us, and as such it is hardly surprising that they have been portrayed several times in plays, TV shows and films. And naturally, since the best and brightest British acting talent portray the royals, the chances are that they have met real life members of the royal family before. Check out their reunions below, and how the stars reacted…

READ: Young royals learning the ropes from Prince Harry to Princess Charlotte

Matt Smith

Matt played Prince Philip in the first two series of The Crown, and opened up about meeting his character's grandson, Prince William, and getting acting tips on how to portray the Duke. Chatting on The Graham Norton Show, Matt said: "I met [Prince William] very briefly in a line-up… the lady who was doing the line-up said, 'And this is Matt and he's about to play…' and I thought, 'Don't say it, don't say it, don't say it,' [and she said], 'And he's about to play Prince Philip,' and then she said, 'Do you have any advice for him,' and I thought, 'Oh I'm going to die.' And [Prince William] just said, 'Legend. He's an absolute legend.'"

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Olivia Colman

Olivia shared a laugh with Prince William after he congratulated her on her BAFTA role as Queen Anne in The Favourite. However, the star is also set to play the Prince's grandmother, the Queen, in seasons three and four of The Crown. The actress looked delighted to be chatting to William, and later also met Kate.

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Emma Thompson

Emma played the Queen in Walking the Dogs, a TV drama which looked at the incident where a stranger scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace and entered the Queen's bedroom. In real life, the actress is actually a close friend of the royal family, particularly Princes Charles, William and Harry. Speaking about receiving her damehood at Buckingham Palace, the 59-year-old said she and Prince William "sniggered" at each other when she asked for a kiss. "I love Prince William, I've known him since he was little, and we just sniggered at each other," the star confessed. "I said, 'I can't kiss you, can I?' And he said, 'No don't!'" Speaking about her friendship with both Prince William and Prince Harry, the actress continued: "It's really lovely because I've always loved the boys and I've always been a long-term correspondent with their dad, it's a very lovely feeling."

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Claire Foy

Claire seemed totally star struck after spotting Prince William and Kate at the BAFTA Awards in February 2019 while they milled around with the nominees and winners from the evening. One snap that made the rounds on Twitter saw the actress, who played William's grandmother in The Crown, looking amused as the pair walked past her.

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Helen Mirren

The acting legend has played Her Majesty twice, first in the 2006 film The Queen, and again in the West End play, The Audience. She had plenty of experience learning how to play a member of the royal family – since she has met several of them! The monarch herself met Dame Helen at a reception for the dramatic arts at Buckingham Palace. Speaking about chatting to the Queen, Helen said: "I feel like saying, 'I'm so sorry ma'am and I promise I'll stop soon… I do feel like it's a little bit intrusive and I do feel a little awkward about that." Helen has also met Princes Harry and William, and the Duchess of Cambridge.

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Helena Bonham Carter

Chances are that Helena felt a little awkward meeting the Queen, since she has played both her mother, the Queen Mother in The King's Speech, and Princess Margaret in The Crown. After accepting the CBE from Her Majesty back in 2012, the actress joked that her then four-year-old, Nell, made a fuss during the ceremony. After leaving while holding a pink phone, she was asked if the phone had gone off, to which she replied: "No, but the four-year-old did."

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Charlotte Riley

Charlotte Riley has some serious royal connections! Not only did she portray Kate in the BBC Two series King Charles III, she is also clearly close to the royal family after attending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding with her husband, Tom Hardy. The BBC series looked at an alternative future where Prince Charles ascends to the throne, and the problems he faces after becoming King.

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