[dropcap]S[/dropcap]he may have just received a controversial pay rise, but the Queen has now hit the headlines for all the right reasons as she became the proud recipient of an honorary Bafta.
Presented by Sir Kenneth Brannagh, the award was in recognition of a lifetime’s support of the British film and television industry. So what was the venue for this historic moment? The Albert Hall? The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane? Oh no! For a royal, star-studded bash such as this, only one place could possibly fit the bill – Windsor Castle!
And what a gathering it was. The 300-plus guest list included the likes of Terry Gilliam, Billy Connolly and John Hurt, with the latter hot-footing it from Cardiff, fresh from filming for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. In fact, all sectors of the film industry were represented, with costume and set designers, publicists and critics all present; as well as the usual actors, directors, producers and writers.
A genuine A-lister, director George Lucas, flew in especially for the event and was in no doubt about the huge part British cinema has played in his career: “I’ve been here since ’75 so for me this is my second home. It’s been influential for me,” he said. Who’d have thought that Indiana Jones and Star Wars fans would be so indebted to the British Monarchy?
On the night, Her Maj was described by Bafta chairman John Willis as “the most memorable Bond Girl yet,” in reference to her stunt with current 007 Daniel Craig at last year’s Olympics. But the support that Bafta has enjoyed from the Royal Family dates back a lot further than last year, as Prince Phillip was appointed its first President way back in 1959. The present incumbent is Prince William, although sadly none of this has managed to swing it for the corgis to follow in the footsteps of Lassie, Toto or Beethoven.