Dame Helen Mirren was the Queen of the BAFTAs on Sunday night – picking up Best Actress.

The 61-year-old actress beat off stiff competition from Meryl Streep, Dame Judi Dench and Kate Winslet for her portrayal of Her Majesty in The Queen. The movie itself also won Best Film.

Going up to collect her statuette, Helen said: “This is great. What an honour, especially to be nominated – just to be nominated – amongst those incredible powerhouse performances this year from women.”

During her acceptance speech, Helen also paid a tearful tribute to actor Ian Richardson, who died just days earlier. She said: “He became a mentor to me, he helped me believe in myself. Ian Richardson, I’m not too sure I would be here today if it wasn’t for you.”

The win was Helen’s first BAFTA in eight years after winning three in a row for Prime Suspect.

The actress was 50-1 on to triumph at the star-studded event in London’s Covent Garden and is now hot favourite to win the Best Actress award at the Oscars.