Once Upon a Time, Olivia Colman Accidentally Met Queen Elizabeth

In case you’re unfamiliar, Olivia Colman plays Queen Elizabeth in the upcoming third season of Netflix’s The Crown. So, it’s safe to say she knows a good deal about the 93-year-old queen. Still, when the 45-year-old Oscar winner came face to face with Her Majesty, she was hardly ready. In fact, their meeting was a complete accident.

Colman opened up about her chance meet-cute with Queen Elizabeth in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Honestly, it’s a pretty damn funny story.

“I have accidentally met the Queen,” she began. “It was at a British Film Institute gathering to raise the profile of British [independent films].”

As Colman recalled, “We suddenly found ourselves, 200 people, in a big queue. I thought maybe we were going in to have some food. I hadn’t read the order of the day.”

But it wasn’t a buffet that lay ahead of her, it was a meet and greet with Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip. “[I] looked around the corner, and there was the queen and Prince Philip, and went, ‘Oh! Oh no! I don’t know what to do!’” Colman said. 

Eventually she pulled herself together thanks to a man beside her: “A gentleman with epaulettes said, ‘Don’t overdo it, little bow, and you say, Your Majesty, and Your Royal Highness, and go. Make it as swift as possible and go,’” she explained. “I managed to remember what to say, sort of sticky-handed and bit sort of stumbly. That was it!”

Let’s see if her brief encounter with the queen impacts Colman’s performance at all when The Crown returns to Netflix with season three on Sunday, November 17.

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Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.