Hugh Jackman Once Informed Queen Elizabeth About an Australian Holiday Celebrating Her Birthday

Any self-respecting expert on the British royal family knows there is a strict protocol for meeting Queen Elizabeth II. So actor Hugh Jackman knew how to behave when he met the Queen in the late 1990s. Still, the meeting proved to be memorable for both parties, as Jackman informed the Queen about how people in his native Australia celebrate her birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II and Hugh Jackman at Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth II and Hugh Jackman at Buckingham Palace

Hugh Jackman became a huge star, thanks to the ‘X-Men’ movies

Jackman shot to worldwide fame when he starred in 2000’s X-Men. Back then, a film adaptation of a Marvel Comics title felt like a much riskier proposition. But the movie became a hit, and Jackman returned as Wolverine for eight more films. For 17 years, he played the fan favorite, finally bringing his run to a close with 2017’s Oscar-nominated hit Logan.

However, X-Men was far from Jackman’s first acting gig. In fact, the actor had appeared in several Australian television series in the mid-1990s. He even met his future wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, on the set of Correlli. And though X-Men marked only his third movie role, Jackman was quickly becoming a veteran of the 1990s Australian and London theater scene.

The actor met Queen Elizabeth II in the late 1990s after a performance

In fact, it was during his West End run in Oklahoma! that Jackman had the honor of meeting the Queen. A few years later, the actor recounted the event on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. There to promote X2: X-Men United, Jackman revealed the Queen wasn’t invited to the premiere. This leads to a tale as memorable as fans of Jackman and the Queen would hope.

“I met [the Queen] at a concert I did. It was one of those Royal Command Performances. … And I was doing a stage show Oklahoma. So I sang, and she came backstage. She eventually came around to me. I was introduced as an Australian. So she said, “Oh, you’re Australian.” … I said, ‘Yes, I am. In fact, ma’am, today in Australia we celebrate your birthday,’ which is true.

That very day is a public holiday in Australia where we celebrate the queen’s birthday. So I said, ‘It’s your birthday today in Australia.’ And she looked at me and went, ‘Oh, really?’ And she looked at all her aides around her and said, ‘Is that true?’ And they said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘Oh.’ So I said, ‘Happy birthday on behalf of Australia.’ And she said, ‘Well, thank you.’ But I love that all of Australia has a public holiday, and she has absolutely no idea.”

Several commonwealths celebrate the Queen’s Official Birthday. In addition to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and — naturally — the United Kingdom all commemorate her birth. As Jackman points out, it’s certainly surprising that the Queen was apparently unaware of this fact until their meeting.


Hugh Jackman Was Warned Against Playing Wolverine in ‘X-Men’

Hugh Jackman has met the Queen Mother since his Hollywood career

Since that first meeting with the Queen, Jackman’s career has blown up. And as a result, he’s had the opportunity to meet her over the years. One can only wonder whether she remembers their first meeting and Jackman’s contribution.

Certainly, the actor’s far more memorable now that he has become such a huge star. In addition to playing Wolverine, Jackman has landed a wide variety of popular roles. Just a year after he shared his story about the Queen, the actor won a Tony for his Broadway run in The Boy from Oz.