Dame Helen Mirren paid a royal visit in character as the Queen to a 10-year-old boy, who is terminally ill and wished to meet the monarch.

The actress – who won the Oscar in 2006 for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, a role she has reprised in the West End play The Audience – posed as Her Royal Highness to grant Oliver Burton’s wish to visit Buckingham Palace and sit down with the Queen.

When Her Majesty was unable to accommodate the request, Helen invited the boy, who has been diagnosed with terminal spine and bone marrow cancer, and his family to see her on stage before having tea with him backstage and letting him play with the corgis, reported The Sun.

“It was a pleasure and privilege to meet such a brave young man,” the actress said.

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.”

The National Children’s Tumour Leukemia and Cancer Trust set up the meeting with Helen when the real Queen couldn’t make it. They posted their joy about Oliver’s experience on their Facebook page, and wrote, “Our incredibly brave Ollie has Tea with The Queen!”