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HM Queen Elizabeth II

BAFTA Patron
21 April 1926 to 8 September 2022

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed a close association with the Academy that spanned 50 years.

Through her various patronages, The Queen was renowned for her support of the UK’s creative industries, having been patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Variety Charity and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.  Over the years, The Queen visited countless film and television organisations, supporting their efforts by highlighting the work they do.  

In 1972, The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh generously gave their share of the profits from the documentary film Royal Family to the Society of Film and Television Arts (SFTA, a forerunner of BAFTA) as a donation towards a new headquarters for the Society.  The original idea to have a headquarters was conceived in early 1970 by Richard Cawston, a producer of Royal Family.

The official opening of BAFTA’s new headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, in March 1976, was conducted by The Queen and attended by past Presidents of the organisation, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and HRH Princess Anne, who was President at the time.  On the occasion of the official opening, the Society of Film and Television Arts was renamed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.  Five decades on, 195 Piccadilly remains BAFTA’s iconic London home and is at the heart of the Academy’s charitable activity.

The Queen played a significant role in one of the most ambitious overseas initiatives the Academy has ever undertaken, when in 1990, the Library of Congress in Washington invited BAFTA to organise a joint Festival of British Film and Television.  The Academy organised a major British cultural programme in 1991 for the first state visit to Washington by The Queen and The Duke since 1976.  The Queen supported numerous events within the festival, including the Great British Picture Show at the Library of Congress, at which over 100 feature films were screened within a week.  The Queen also attended a BAFTA lunch at The Jefferson Building, together with The Duke, which included a presentation of a British Academy Special Award to actress Angela Lansbury by Sir Richard Attenborough.

In 1996, when the Academy celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special event at 195 Piccadilly, The Queen and The Duke attended this milestone in the organisation’s history and to mark the occasion there were presentations of a Lifetime Achievement Award to cinematographer Freddie Young and the BAFTA Fellowship to Dame Maggie Smith. 

The Queen received her own BAFTA on 4 April 2013, the occasion of a reception for the British film industry hosted by Her Majesty at Windsor Castle.  An honorary British Academy Special Award was presented by Sir Kenneth Branagh in recognition of The Queen’s outstanding patronage of the film and television industries. 

The Queen occupies a unique place in the Academy’s history and will be missed enormously.