Sir Oliver and the Queen


Source of Photo:

Oliver Burton, a 10-year-old who has Down’s syndrome and is dying of cancer, wanted to meet Queen Elizabeth II of England. This was not possible, but he got the next best thing: He met Helen Mirren, a Dame of the British Empire — and an actress who plays the role of the Queen in her West End show The Audience, a show in which she plays the Queen, and then he got meet her (and the show’s corgis) backstage; she stayed in character as Queen Elizabeth II. Dame Helen also “knighted” him, making him Sir Oliver. After the visit, Dame Helen said, “It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet such a brave young man.” Oliver’s father, James Browne, said, “She stayed in character for the whole thing. Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that’s good enough for us. She was really lovely. She did the whole thing — had a butler there, was dressed in costume and did it all properly for him. She sat in Oliver’s wheelchair and gave him her big chair. She had a glass of coke together and biscuits and little sandwiches and they even brought in her corgis from the show, Coco and Roco. She was wonderful and in some of the photos you do a double take because she really does look like the real Queen. She knighted him and told everyone that they had to call him Sir Oliver. He had a brilliant day. He took his British flag and got her to sign it and just waved and waved it all day.” The National Children’s Tumour Leukaemia Cancer Trust arranged the visit with Dame Helen. Family support worker Andi Daw said, “I expected it to be two minutes in and out, but it was not at all. They had tea and cakes, they had the corgis, and they really took care of them. The theatre could not have been more helpful; we really could not fault them. It has made an enormous difference to Catherine and her family. She even said she has woken up the last few days feeling lifted. It’s a memory that she will hold for the rest of her life. Even when Ollie is not around anymore, they have got something they can look back on. It really was Ollie’s biggest wish to meet the Queen so it was absolutely huge.”

For Further Information: James Beal, “Her Majestea: Dame Helen Mirren steps in to grant 
a dying boy’s wish to meet the Queen.” The Sun (UK). 19 May 2013

For Further Information: Tara Brady: “‘Arise, Sir Oliver’: Dame Helen Mirren ‘knights’ dying boy, 10, after making his wish for the Queen to come to tea come true.” Daily Mail (UK). 19 May 2013; updated 20 May 2013

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