Two different queens met one another alongside a throne in an elaborate hall in Belfast yesterday.
One of these monarchs has earned the popularity of her subjects through decades of service to them, a commitment which has kept her active as she approaches age 90.
The other is a more complicated, at times villainous figure, who installed her illegitimate son in power through deception.
The first of these two women is the real Queen Elizabeth II, while the latter is the make-believe Queen Cersei Lannister in the hit TV series Games of Thrones.
After the encounter between the two women, the actress Lena Headey — who plays Queen Cersei — told the News Letter of her pleasure at being introduced to the bona fide royal at the show’s studios in Titanic Quarter.
“The Queen was very sweet and present and interested,” Lena said.
Despite being an actress who regularly appears in front of millions of viewers, Lena admitted to anxiety before meeting the royal visitors at the Paint Hall studios.
“Yes, I was totally nervous,” she said.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh talked to the cast beside the set’s extravagant throne yesterday, which they viewed but in which they did not actually sit.
“I think she was happy she didn’t have to sit on that throne,” said Lena.
The Queen and Prince Philip chatted to other stars of the show including 27-year-old Kit Harington, who plays a lord commander named of Jon Snow in the fantasy series.
After being introduced to the royal party, Kit said: “She’s been on the throne for such a long time and seen so many things that for me to meet her and her to come to the set of Thrones is remarkable.”
The Queen had numerous questions for the English actor about the production. “She wanted to know where we filmed and how long I had filmed for and what I liked about filming in Northern Ireland,” Kit recalled.
In a visit lasting less than half an hour, the Queen and Prince Philip were shown around the large studio site, viewing props and costumes and sets, by the show’s brainchilds, the American executive producers and writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
“The Queen couldn’t have been more interested and curious,” said David.
Game of Thrones has been filmed in numerous locations in Northern Ireland since 2009, with the Paint Hall studio as its main base.