From the Sex Pistols to the Simpsons: Elizabeth II in popular culture

From the Sex Pistols to the Simpsons: Élisabeth II in popular culture


From The Sex Pistols to The Simpsons, 'The Crown' and James Bond films, the instantly recognizable image of Queen Elizabeth II has been used in popular culture throughout throughout her reign. 

Some did it fondly, others scratched it, but Her Majesty's omnipresence in art, music and cinema underlined the place it occupied in popular imagery.

God Save The Queen

The cover for the Sex Pistols' 1977 single 'God Save The Queen', featuring the queen's face, eyes and mouth hidden beneath the title and band name , is one of the most famous images of the punk movement… but also of Elizabeth II.

Artist Jamie Reid also created a version representing the monarch with a safety pin on her lip and swastikas in place of pupils.

Many other songs have been written about the queen, including 'Elizabeth My Dear' (1989) by the band alternative rock album The Stone Roses, in which they claimed that they “will know no rest until she loses her throne”.

In 2005, the British electronic music group Basement Jaxx depicted a sassy monarch going out at night in London, visiting a strip club and even coming to blows, in the clip “You Do Not Know Me”. p>


The queen posed for more than 175 portraits during her reign. Artists such as Cecil Beaton, Lucien Freud and Annie Leibovitz depicted her in her finest attire, at work or with her family.

But the best known are undoubtedly those made by the pop art pope, Andy Warhol, in 1985, as part of a series on the queens reigning at the time.

The American artist has used an official photograph that he personalized, as he also did for Marilyn Monroe.

As seen on TV

Instantly recognizable with her brightly colored outfits, the Queen has been a cartoon character and has also appeared in television shows and films.

Her Majesty has appeared on the American series several times “The Simpsons”, notably in an episode where the main character, Homer, stamps his carriage at Buckingham Palace.

In the children's cartoon “Peppa Pig”, the monarch jumps in puddles of mud. His character also appears in the films “The Minions” (2015), “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002) or “Is there a cop to save the queen?” (1988), where she is played by Jeanette Charles, her most famous British look-alike.


While the Queen has rarely given interviews, her life has been featured in films, plays and TV shows.

In “The King's Speech” (2010), an Oscar-winning film about her father King George VI's fight to overcome his stuttering, we see her as a child, while in “The Queen” (2006), Elizabeth II, played by Helen Mirren, faces the wrath of her subjects after the 1997 death of her stepdaughter, Princess Diana.

But it was Netflix's hit series 'The Crown' that chronicled the in more detail about the Queen's life and her relationship with her husband Philip, featuring marital disputes, scandals and political crises.

Starring role

After years of having her image hijacked, the Queen herself took on the lead in 2012 by participating in a skit on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

We see her surrounded by her beloved corgis at Buckingham Palace where she receives James Bond, played by Daniel Craig. “Good evening, Mr Bond,” she said to him, before the couple pretended to get into a helicopter, fly over London and finally parachute into the Olympic Stadium.

In 2016, Elizabeth II also gave the reply to her grandson Prince Harry, in a video featuring former US President Barack Obama, to promote the Invictus Games, an international event created by Harry for wounded soldiers, at the image of the Olympic Games.

With Paddington

The Queen had reserved a surprise for her subjects in June for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of her reign, during of the platinum jubilee: she had shot a short video where we see her having tea with Paddington Bear, a clumsy icon of British children's literature.

She then beat time with a silver spoon on her porcelain cup, synchronized with the opening of a concert g éant that opened in front of Buckingham palace.