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c. 1950s-1970s

Hollywood stars line up to meet real royalty

A young Queen Elizabeth II meets a bevy of celebrities, from Charlie Chaplin to Babs

Queen Elizabeth II greets singer and actress Barbra Streisand at the film premiere of "Funny Lady," the 1975 follow-up to the film 'Funny Girl'. Also present are American actors James Caan, second from left, and Lee Remick, centre. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The British tradition of the movie Royal Command Performance dates back to 1946, when King George VI–the present Queen’s father–attended the premier of A Matter of Life and Death. The film, set during World War II, starred David Niven.

His daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, attended her first Command Performance a few months after she took the throne in 1952. The film was Because You’re Mine, starring Mario Lanza, screened at at the Empire Cinema, in Leicester Square–a cinema so big, it had its own water well. 

In total, the Queen attended 30 performances before stepping down from her cinematic duties.  The regal gloved hand had been offered to an array of stars, at times creating somewhat surreal pairings, with figures including Charlie Chaplin, a ballet dancer dressed as a fox, and Marilyn Monroe. 

1952
Kirk Douglas bows and shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II, as Douglas Fairbanks Jr (right) looks on, at the Royal Command premiere of “Because You’re Mine.”
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1952
Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Charlie Chaplin at the “Because You’re Mine” premiere.
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1953
The Queen meets Ava Gardner, next to Diana Dors
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1953
Queen Elizabeth II being introduced to members of the British Everest Expedition by Colonel Sir John Hunt, at the Warner Theatre, Leicester Square, London, when she went to see the first screenng of “The Conquest of Everest,” the film which tells the story of the achievement.
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1955
English actress Claire Bloom (left) and producer Sir Alexander Korda are presented to Queen Elizabeth II after the premiere of the film “Richard III” at the Leicester Square Theatre, London.
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1956
Queen Elizabeth II shaking hands with Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of “The Battle of the River Plate.”
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1956
The Queen shakes hands with French actress Brigitte Bardot during the Royal Film Performance of “The Battle of the River Plate,” with Joan Crawford and Anita Ekberg.
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1957
Jayne Mansfield and England’s Queen Elizabeth II are shown chatting on the reception line during the Royal Command Film Performance at the Odeon Theatre in London for “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”
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1958
Frank Sinatra bows as he is presented to Queen Elizabeth at the premiere of “Me and the Colonel.”
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1962
Peter O’Toole bows to Queen Elizabeth II after a Command Performance showing of “Lawerence of Arabia,” in which he played the title role. The film’s director David Lean stands next to O’Toole.
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1966
Meeting Julie Christie before the premiere of “Born Free” at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London. That’s Warren Beatty, center, looking so intently at Christie.
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1966
Raquel Welch next to Woody Allen at the “Born Free” premiere.
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1967
Sean Connery and his wife Diane Cilento welcome the Queen to the premiere of Sean’s latest Bond film, “You Only Live Twice.”
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1967
Queen Elizabeth II meets actor Rex Harrison and his wife Rachel Roberts at the premiere of the film “Dr Dolittle” at the Odeon Marble Arch, London.
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1967
Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim presenting Anthony Newley to the Queen at the premiere of “Dr. Dolittle.”
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1971
Queen Elizabeth II is greeted with a courtly bow by The Fox (Robert Mead in costume) on her arrival to attend the charity premiere of “Tales of Beatrix Potter” at the ABC1 and ABC2 cinemas in Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
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1975
Queen Elizabeth II greets Barbra Streisand at the film premiere of “Funny Lady.” Also present are American actors James Caan, second from left, and Lee Remick, center.
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1980
Dustin Hoffman shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal premiere of “Kramer vs. Kramer” with Meryl Streep. That’s Liv Ullman, center, looking on.
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