Helen Mirren Sends Her Regrets to Palace

The Associated Press
Monday, May 7, 2007; 5:21 PM

LONDON -- The queen won't be meeting "The Queen" just yet. Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II, has turned down an invitation to dinner at Buckingham Palace, a British newspaper reported.

The Mail on Sunday said Mirren had been invited to dine with the queen last week, but sent her regrets because she is filming "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" in the United States.

"The palace very kindly extended an invitation to dinner last Tuesday, May 1," Mirren said in a statement quoted by the newspaper. "But, unfortunately, I was filming in South Dakota and unable to change my schedule. I am very sad not to have been able to attend."

Representatives of Mirren and the queen could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Mirren won the best actress prize at February's Oscars for her performance in "The Queen," set in the aftermath of the 1997 death of Princess Diana.

The 61-year-old actress saluted the queen in her acceptance speech for maintaining "her dignity, her sense of duty and her hairstyle" for more than 50 years.

"She's had her feet planted firmly on the ground, her hat on her head, her handbag on her arm and she's weathered many, many storms. ... If it wasn't for her, I most certainly wouldn't be here. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the queen," Mirren said, holding her Oscar aloft.

Buckingham Palace said after the awards that it was "looking at a number of options" for a visit by Mirren, director Stephen Frears and writer Peter Morgan.

© 2007 The Associated Press