Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Belfast's Kenneth Branagh presents Queen honorary Bafta at star-studded bash in Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth II receives an honorary BAFTA from Belfast's Kenneth Branagh in recognition of a lifetime's support to British Film and Television at Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II receives an honorary BAFTA from Belfast's Kenneth Branagh in recognition of a lifetime's support to British Film and Television at Windsor Castle

The Queen received an honorary Bafta tonight in recognition of a lifetime's support of British film and television - and for being the most "memorable Bond girl yet".

Belfast-born Hollywood star Sir Kenneth Branagh presented the award during a glittering Windsor Castle reception attended by stars of stage, screen and television celebrating their industry.

Among the famous faces turning out was Ballymena-born Jimmy Nesbitt along with a host of heavyweights such as Billy Connolly and Star Wars director George Lucas.

John Willis, chairman of Bafta, paid tribute to the Queen for her patronage of entertainment bodies and charities throughout her reign.

He drew laughter from the audience when he referred to the Queen's now famous role alongside James Bond during the opening ceremony of the Olympics - when she appeared to parachute into the stadium with 007.

Mr Willis said in a short speech: "We should be proud of our industry. The people here this evening represent a vast variety of skills and ground breaking innovation; they have entertained and informed a generation and inspired generations to come."

He told the audience who included the Duke of Edinburgh: "I am delighted that this evening has given us the opportunity to give something back. I have the great honour to announce that we are to present Her Majesty with an honorary Bafta today, in recognition of her outstanding patronage of the film and television industries."

The former award-winning television documentary director, now chief executive of the independent television production company Mentorn Media, highlighted the monarch's support for British film and television.

Mr Willis said: "The Queen has been patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund - for which money is raised by Royal Film Performances - since 1952, so for more than 60 years, and visited countless industry organisations, shining a light on the work that we all do and lending her tireless support to our efforts."

He added: "More recently Her Majesty the Queen starred at the London Olympics as the most memorable Bond girl yet."

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