From a Sex Pistols single to The Simpsons episode, The Crown and Andy Warhol works, the late Queen Elizabeth II’s pop culture cameos were frequent and often unforgettable.

Some depictions were affectionate, others more hostile, but the monarch‘s indelible image in art, music and film cemented her status as one of the most recognisable people in the world.

The most memorable pop culture appearances by Queen Elizabeth II:

‘God Save The Queen’

With her eyes and mouth covered with collaged words, the cover of the 1977 Sex Pistols single “God Save The Queen” is one of the most iconic images of the punk movement — and of Elizabeth II.

The artist, Jamie Reid, also created a version depicting the queen with a safety pin through her mouth and Nazi swastika symbols on her eyes.

queen elizabeth II pop culture sex pistols
The cover art of ‘God Save the Queen’ by Sex Pistols. (Image: Sex Pistols/ IMDb)

Of the many other songs about the queen, the gentle “Her Majesty” by The Beatles in 1969 contrasts with “Elizabeth My Dear” on the 1989 debut album by The Stone Roses, where they declared they would not rest until she lost the throne.

The Queen Is Dead“, the title track from the 1986 hit album by The Smiths, featured lead singer Morrissey railing against media fascination with the royal family.

“The very idea of the monarchy and the queen of England is being reinforced and made to seem more useful than it really is,” Morrissey told NME magazine. “The whole thing seems like a joke. A hideous joke.

In 2005, electronic dance act Basement Jaxx imagined the queen on a night out in London for the music video for “You Don’t Know Me”, showing her visiting a strip club and getting into a fight.

Warhol’s silkscreens

The queen sat for numerous artists during her reign, including Cecil Beaton, Lucian Freud and Annie Leibovitz, showing her in full regalia, at work or with her family.

But few captured the public imagination like Andy Warhol‘s technicolour silkscreens, as part of a 1985 series about reigning queens.

Warhol used an official photograph that he customised in a range of colours and styles — a treatment also used to depict stars such as Marilyn Monroe.


Screen time

Readily identified by her cut-glass accent and boldly-coloured outfits, the queen was much depicted in cartoons, television shows and films.

She popped up several times in cult US series The Simpsons, including in one episode where the main character, Homer, drove into her golden carriage on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

The monarch featured in British satirical puppet show Spitting Image and in children’s television hit Peppa Pig, where she jumped in muddy puddles.

She also featured in the movies Minions, Austin Powers in Goldmember and The Naked Gun among many others — in some of them played by Jeannette Charles, her most famous British lookalike.

queen elizabeth II pop culture
Jeannette Charles as the Queen in Austin Powers in Goldmember. (Image: IMDb)

Private life

The queen rarely gave interviews and never retailed details about her most private moments. But cinematic portrayals of the life she was presumed to lead behind the palace gates were many.

Laid out in films, plays and television programmes, all helped to shape public perceptions of the royal family.

She was depicted as a child in the Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech, about her father King George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammer, and as a monarch, facing public anger after the 1997 death of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana, in The Queen.

One of the most influential was Netflix’s big-budget TV series The Crown, which told in luxurious detail the story of the queen and her husband Philip from before she ascended to the throne, complete with family rows, scandals and political crises.

Olympic spoof

After years of her image being used and abused, the queen took to the screen herself in 2012 in a sketch for the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

She was filmed surrounded by her beloved corgis at Buckingham Palace as she met James Bond star Daniel Craig, who was dressed as the suave spy in black tie.

“Good evening, Mr Bond”, she said, before the pair appeared to get in a helicopter, fly across London and then parachute into the stadium.

In 2016, she also appeared in a video with her grandson Prince Harry which also featured former US president Barack Obama, to promote the prince’s veterans sports championship, the Invictus Games.

One of her last appearances was with the popular animated children’s television character, Paddington Bear, at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

The pair shared a love of marmalade sandwiches and tapped out the beat to Queen’s anthem “We Will Rock You” to kickstart a star-studded pop concert.

(Main and Featured Image: Courtesy Photography Eddie MULHOLLAND/POOL/ AFP)

This story was published via AFP Relaxnews

Subscribe to the magazine

Subscribe Now
Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.