2. Her father's family got a shout-out in War and Peace -- and later she played Tolstoy's wife!
Mirren may be one of Britain's most iconic actresses, but her father was actually Russian, and his mother was a countess in a family that was noteworthy enough to be referenced in Tolstoy's War and Peace. Years later, Mirren would earn an Oscar nomination for playing the author's wife in The Last Station.
3. She used to be called "Popper"
Mirren's early acting nickname was "Little Mother Russia" because of her heritage, but her family had a much weirder nickname. According to the New Yorker, they called her Popper, or Pop, “because she would pop off into dreams," which sounds both too specific to be untrue and too bizarre to be real.
4. She was already a queen at 19
Like any great stage actress, Mirren has played in the same work a few times over the course of her career. In 1965, at the young age of 19, she made her debut with the National Youth Theatre as the second title character in Antony and Cleopatra, and then in the late '90s she starred in a much larger-scale production, with Alan Rickman as Antony. And Egypt wasn't done with her: in 1998 she provided the voice of Queen Tuya in the animated film The Prince of Egypt. By this point, she should be an honorary Egyptian.