The British prime minister and the Royal Family find themselves quietly at odds in the wake of a national tragedy in this drama from director Stephen Frears. On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in an auto accident in Paris; despite the controversial breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles, she was still one of the most famous and best-loved women in the world, and the public outpouring of emotion over her passing was immediate and intense. However, given the messy circumstances of Diana's breakup with Charles, official spokespeople for the Royal Family were uncertain about how to publicly address her passing. It didn't take long for the media to pick up on the hesitation of Buckingham Palace to pay homage to Diana, and many saw this as a sign of the cool emotional distance so often attributed to the royals, which in this case was widely seen as an insult against Diana and the many people who loved her. Prime Minister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) saw a potential public-relations disaster in the making, and took it upon himself to persuade Queen Elizabeth II (played by Helen Mirren) to make a statement in tribute to the fallen Diana -- an action that went against the taciturn queen's usual nature. The Queen was released the same year that Helen Mirren played Queen Elizabeth I in an acclaimed miniseries for British television; The Queen also gave Michael Sheen his second opportunity to play Tony Blair after portraying the prime minister in the television film The Deal.
by Mark Deming synopsis