Helen Mirren filled in for Queen Elizabeth in order to fulfill a dying boy's last request. Mirren donned her Queen Elizabeth costume from the play she is currently in and invited the young boy and his family to a formal tea, where she knighted him and introduced him to her corgis.
Mirren has portrayed Queen Elizabeth II many times, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the actress. She is currently performing in "The Audience," in London's West End as the Queen. When she found out that Oliver Burton, 10, wanted to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace, Mirren intervened and made his wish come true.
She sent a limo to pick up Burton and his family, and after the performance, stayed in character and invited the boy backstage for a proper tea and to meet her equally famous corgis. Mirren even went so far as to knight the young boy, making his day complete. Burton was absolutely thrilled and, because of his condition, did not even realize that he wasn't meeting the real Queen.
"She stayed in character for the whole thing and had a butler. She was really lovely," Burton's father, James, told The Sun.
"Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that's good enough for us," James later told the Daily Mail. "She was really lovely. She did the whole thing – had a butler in there, was dressed in costume and did it all properly for him."
"She sat in Oliver's wheelchair and gave him her big chair. They 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. She knighted him and told everyone that they had to call him Sir Oliver. He had a brilliant day," James added.
Oliver has Down syndrome and was diagnosed with cancer in his spine and bone marrow in December. It's the third time he has battled cancer since he was three years old; doctors have given him only weeks or months to live.
"It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet such a brave young man," Mirren told The Sun.
"I expected it to be two minutes in and out, but it was not at all. They had tea and cakes, they had the corgis, and they really took care of them. It has made an enormous difference to Catherine and her family. She even said she has woken up the last few days feeling lifted. Even when Ollie is not around anymore, they have got something they can look back on," family aide Andi Daw told the Daily Mail.