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Queen says no to Mirren play promo

(Reuters) / 14 November 2012

SORRY, HELEN MIRREN: looks like the Queen won’t be appearing at the theater for your new play. At least on the programs and promotional materials for The Audience.

The Oscar-winning actress is set to reprise her role as the British monarch in a new play, written by The Queen screenwriter Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry. In preparation for the play’s opening at the Gielguld Theatre in London’s West End on February 15, 2013, the play’s designers came up with a image of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Diamond Diadem for use on the program and promotional materials, the Telegraph reported.

However, Buckingham Palace has rejected use of the image, saying, “We ask companies not to use the Queen’s image in their advertising or promotional material. We felt the use of the Queen’s portrait for this play breached this code and suggested that they might like to use a different image. It had nothing to do with the play itself.”

The Audience tells the story of the Queen’s relationships with the 12 prime ministers who served her during her reign. The play’s title is derived from the private weekly discussions held between the queen and heads of government that have taken place over the last six decades.

“I was baffled when they said we couldn’t use the Queen’s image, particularly as we are not wanting to use it in a defamatory or negative way - quite the opposite. It is censorship,” Matthew Byam Shaw, one of the play’s producers, said.

Still, the Queen has spoken. So the image will be modified with Mirren’s likeness in place of the monarch.

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