The special tribute was led by Helen Mirren, who previously portrayed the late royal in the 2006 biopic, 'The Queen.'
"Cinema at its best does what Her Majesty did effortlessly – bring us together and unite us through a story. Your Majesty, you were our nation's leading star," the actress, who previously won a BAFTA for her portrayal of the late royal, said of the Queen, who died at the age of 96 on Sept. 8, 2022.
"BAFTAs relationship with Her Majesty was longstanding and BAFTA would not be what it is today without her loyal support," she went on to say. "In 1953 her coronation broadcast had the world watching, from that time, she was unquestionably the nation's leading lady. But was mysterious as a silent film star."
Chronicling the Queen's years-long relationships with actors and actresses across the globe, Mirren reflected on how the late monarch was a part of it all -- from Hollywood's "Golden Age" to the age of the "Blockbuster."
"Her Majesty was front row for it all," Mirren added.
The segment was presented in front of William and Kate Middleton, who were sitting in the audience during the ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall. William appeared to have tears in his eyes during Mirren's tribute as he and Kate appeared Sunday as the show's guests of honor. As President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, William was there to watch the awards before meeting the night's winners and EE Rising Star nominees.
Prior to the ceremony, the British Academy said, "The Queen occupies a unique place in BAFTA's history, a close association that spanned 50 years. Through her various patronages, The Queen was renowned for her support of the UK’s creative industries."
The tribute comes two years after the annual British film awards honored Prince Philip, who previously served as President of BAFTA from 1959 to 1965 before later dying at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021.
"It was Prince Philip and Her Majesty the Queen's support throughout these years that in many ways allowed BAFTA, a leading charity in the arts, to continue in difficult times and to be here today in 2021 celebrating another outstanding year of achievement in film," host Clara Amfo said during the ceremony. "The Duke of Edinburgh occupies a very special place in BAFTA history. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with the royal family."
The 2023 BAFTAs, meanwhile, were hosted by Richard E. Grant while Alison Hammond interviewed the presenters and winners backstage at the BAFTA Studio. It also marked William and Kate's first in-person appearance at the annual British film awards since 2020, prior to the pandemic and Philip's death, both of which prevented them from attending in the years that followed.