Catherine Zeta-Jones: Queen’s death made me homesick but proud of my heritage

Catherine Zeta-Jones: Queen’s death made me homesick but proud of my heritage

Catherine Zeta-Jones says she felt like she “lost a real family member” following the death of the Queen, and that the news had made her “homesick” but “proud of my heritage”.

The Welsh actress, 52, said the monarch had been “a real inspiration” and a figure of “power and respect”.

Tributes from famous faces poured in from both home and abroad following the announcement of the Queen’s death on Thursday.

Speaking at the Disney’s D23 Expo on Saturday, Zeta-Jones said she had called her family back home and “felt like a little piece of me had gone”.

“I’m a big royalist and I love the royal family and what they do for our country,” she told the PA news agency.

“As a girl growing up in Wales, in Britain, in the UK, I had my mum who was the strongest, safest person to be with but I also had a queen.

“And I don’t just mean that she was a queen sitting on a throne, we’re at Disney where queens and princesses are the topic du jour, but a woman who was a real inspiration.

“I’m in a country that has never had a woman as a figure of leadership, of power and of respect, and so I shall miss her dearly.”

She continued: “I kept calling my mother on FaceTime and going ‘do you feel how I feel?’ and they said ‘yeah’.

“I don’t know whether it’s because I’m British but I just felt like a little piece of me had gone.”

“There will never be a queen in my lifetime again, but it was a very strange feeling. (I felt) very homesick, very proud of my heritage.”

Zeta-Jones told PA she believed King Charles would do “an exceptional job” as “the baton was passed”.

Cannes Joanne Whalley
Joanne Whalley, star of the 1988 fantasy film Willow and the 2022 follow-up series of the same name, said the news had ‘stopped me in my tracks’ (Anthony Harvey/PA)

Warwick Davis, who is known for his roles in Star Wars and various British comedy series, paid tribute to the Queen as someone “who sacrificed her life basically for us”.

“I was very, very sad to hear of her passing,” he told AP, speaking at D23.

“I’m a royalist, I respect the monarchy, and I think it’s a great thing for the United Kingdom to have a monarchy.

“I’d love to have met Her Majesty but didn’t get the opportunity sadly, but I have been to royal events at Buckingham Palace in the past which have been lovely.

“She’s someone who sacrificed her life basically for us and making the world a better place in general.”

Joanne Whalley, Davies’ co star in the 1988 fantasy film Willow and the 2022 follow-up series of the same name, said the news had “stopped me in my tracks”.

“I didn’t know what to think because it’s the unthinkable,” the English actress told PA at D23.

“I think a lot of people think the same whether you agree with the monarchy or whatever.

“All politics aside… what a woman. It’s so ingrained in all our experiences. We all share this symbol for good.

“I don’t think we’ve all digested it yet. What a sad, sad day.”

Back in the UK, other British acting talent including Daniel Craig, Dick Van Dyke, Stephen Fry, Dame Joanna Lumley and Dame Helen Mirren all hailed the monarch and her contribution to the nation.

Musical stars including Sir Elton John, Sir Rod Stewart and Sir Paul McCartney all reflected on their encounters and experiences of performing for the Queen.

Sir Paul shared decades of intimate memories with the monarch that had come “flooding back” after her death, which stretched from 1965 to 2018, when he had made her “giggle slightly”.

Theatre – Royal Variety Performance – Palladium, London
The daughter of Dame Vera Lynn says her mother would have been ‘terribly upset’ about news of the Queen’s death, having known her since the monarch’s 16th birthday (PA)

Sir Elton dedicated his final live show in Toronto on Thursday to the Queen, as did pop megastar Harry Styles, who encouraged audiences at his show at Madison Square Garden to applaud the monarch’s seven decades of service.

Dame Vera Lynn’s daughter, Victoria Lewis-Jones, said her mother would have been “terribly upset” about the news of the monarch’s death, having known her since the late monarch’s 16th birthday.

In a statement shared with PA, Ms Lewis-Jones recalled her mother’s experiences with the monarch and their shared dedication to charitable work.