At a recent press conference for her latest film Golda, Helen Mirren was presented with a surprising discovery from the researchers at MyHeritage – she is in fact distantly related to Golda Meir, the former Israeli Prime Minister! In the film, Mirren stars as the iconic politician and follows the enormous responsibilities and decisions Meir faced during the Yom Kippur War. The film is set to premier at the opening of the 40th Jerusalem Film Festival.
Image: Harald Krichel, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Although the relationship was distant, and went through a few marriages, Mirren appreciated learning about her personal connection to Meir, whom she said was “one of the most extraordinary characters I’ve ever played.” Mirren thanked the MyHeritage researchers, saying, “It goes to show that we are all one family, and when we’re in times of divisiveness and strife, as I know Israel is right now and the whole world is, it would be very good for all of us to remember that.”
The relationship follows a path through her father’s branch of the family tree, whose family was once a part of the Russian nobility. Her paternal grandfather, Pyotr Mironov, was a part of the Russian aristocracy and a diplomat. He was in Britain negotiating an arms deal when he and his family were stranded by the Russian Revolution in 1917. The family eventually settled in England and later, Mirren’s father would change the family name to “Mirren.” Many years later Mirren would go on to play Catherine the Great in an HBO miniseries about the Russian empress. Little did she know that she also had an interesting connection to the Russian leader. Mirren’s first cousin six times removed, Vasiliy Ivanovich Levashov, was one of Catherine the Great’s lovers.
Catherine the Great is not the only royal Mirren has portrayed on screen. She has also taken on the roles of Elizabeth I in the television series Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II in the film The Queen. She holds the distinction of being the only actor to portray both of the regnant Elizabeths on screen. According to Geni’s World Family Tree, Elizabeth I is Mirren’s 11th cousin 8 times removed.
In the Queen’s 2003 Birthday Honours, Mirren was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to drama. Four years later, Mirren would go home with the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Elizabeth II. It turns out the Queen was also Mirren’s 14th cousin twice removed!
How are you related to Helen Mirren? Explore her family tree on Geni and discover how you’re related to the actress. Perhaps you can collaborate with the Geni community to expand the maternal side of her tree to find even more connections in the World Family Tree!
The post The Surprising Connection Between Helen Mirren, Golda Meir, and More first appeared on About Geni.