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Golden Globes Royalty: Actors Who Won for Playing British Monarchs

Golden Globes Royalty: Actors Who Won for Playing British Monarchs

In celebration of the historic coronation of King Charles III, here’s a look back at all the actors who have won Golden Globes for portraying Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms throughout history:

Peter O’Toole as Henry II, Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968)


The first to be feted for playing a British Monarch was Peter O’Toole, distinguished with an unprecedented double whammy, winning Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama twice for playing the 12th century King Henry II of England in both Becket, opposite Richard Burton and John Gielgud, and four years later in The Lion in Winter alongside Katharine Hepburn and a young Anthony Hopkins in his first major film role.

Richard Burton and Peter OKatharine Hepburn and Peter O

Richard Harris as Arthur, Camelot (1967)


Long before being rediscovered by a new generation as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, Irish-born Richard Harris won Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for playing the late 5th/early 6th centuries Welsh mythology folklore figure in the big screen adaptation of the 1960 Broadway musical.

Richard Harris in "Camelot" (1967)

Geneviève Bujold as Anne Boleyn, Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)


Another film adaptation of a stage production was that of a 1948 play turned feature some 20 years later about the second wife of King Henry VIII, who served as Queen Consort of England for three years, before being convicted for high treason and beheaded in 1536. Boleyn’s tragic story was depicted by several actresses over the years, namely that of Canada’s Geneviève Bujold who won a Golden Globe for her turn.

Geneviève Bujold and Michael Johnson in "Anne of the Thousand Days" (1969)

Judi Dench as Victoria, Mrs. Brown (1997)


Almost three decades since the last time, Judi Dench was the next thespian to pick up a Golden Globe, and with her first of twelve career nominations thus far, for playing a royal and a stand out at that. Queen Victoria reigned for over 63 years, the longest by any British Monarch at that time and surpassed only by Elizabeth II, making history with a triumphant 70 years reign that ended last September.

Judi Dench in "Mrs. Brown" (1997)

Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I, Elizabeth (1998)


Similar to Dench, Cate Blanchett won the Golden Globe on her first of a dozen career nominations, with three additional wins thereafter, for playing Elizabeth I in Indian director Shekhar Kapur’s biographical drama, a breakout role that garnered the Australian actress international prominence and success.

Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth" (1998)

Helen Mirren as Elizabeth I, Elizabeth I (2006) and as Elizabeth II, The Queen (2006)


At the 64th Golden Globe Awards Helen Mirren managed to pull off an impressive one-two punch, taking home two Golden Globes that night, the first for playing Elizabeth I in the 2005 two-part mini-series and the second for playing Elizabeth II, that also earned her the Academy Award that year, in director Stephen FrearsThe Queen, a film that was a big commercial success and drew immense praise for Mirren.

Helen Mirren in "Elizabeth" I (2005)Helen Mirren in "The Queen" (2006)

Colin Firth as George VI, The King’s Speech (2010)


Only a year after his first Golden Globe nomination for A Single Man, Colin Firth won the coveted award for playing George VI, referred to in history books as the ‘reluctant king’ who ascended the throne upon the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, who made the sacrifice in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. The King’s Speech won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year.

Colin Firth in "The King

Claire Foy as Elizabeth II, The Crown (2016)


Arguably the most talked about scripted depiction of the Royal Family in recent years has been the Netflix series, created by screenwriter Peter Morgan and based off his 2013 stage play The Audience. The Crown premiered in 2016 starring Claire Foy as Queen Elizebath II in the early days of her reign, a role she held for two seasons, plus a guest cameo in season 5, and which earned her the Golden Globe and two Emmys.

Matt Smith and Claire Foy in "The Crown" (2016)

Olivia Colman as Anne, The Favourite (2018) and as Elizabeth II, The Crown (2019)


Succeeding Foy in an older version of Elizabeth II, per the show’s ongoing recasting as the timeline moves forward, was Olivia Colman, who like her predecessor won Best Actress – Television Series Drama. The year prior Colman picked up her first Golden Globe for playing Queen Anne in Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ period dark comedy, The Favourite, in a role she also won an Academy Award for.

Olivia Colman in "The Favourite" (2018)Olivia Colman in "The Crown" (2016)

Josh O’Connor as Charles III, The Crown (2020)


Fittingly capping off our list is Josh O’Connor who won remotely at the COVID-ridden 78th Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama for playing a young version of the reigning Monarch on seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown, before being recast with Dominic West.

Olivia Colman and Josh O