Sweethearts, you've been calling for me, and finally, HERE I AM!
Here is my delayed reply to all your queries:
First off: the title of 'dame' does not make one royal. Got that, r11? Only those with HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) in their title are royal.
Secondly, even in the Commonwealth subjects of the crown are not obliged to bow to royalty (cf. the Australian prime minister who made it a point not to bow to QE II when she visited Australia, not too long ago). Regardless of that, DDL has forfeited his British passport; he is an Irish as well as US citizen these days.
Thirdly, OP's naive question can easily be turned around: wasn't DDL's act of bowing to Mirren a bit silly, and by comparison, wasn't he addressing the REAL queen of acting the way she ought to be addressed? Namely, without silliness, and rather with an intelligent joke paying tribute to her great performance as Margaret Thatcher.
DDL was saying he and Meryl were equals, that they could play each other's roles, interchangeably. Two titans, the best of each gender, operating on the same level of talent, where gender barriers are dissolved by the sheer force of genius.
He didn't suggest the same with Mirren, did he?
Finally, r25: I'm sure you've noticed nobody here agreed with your bitter and myopic little statement, haven't you?
'A few' in the US are as good as Meryl? And, following your logic, 'many more' are as good as her around the world?
And just who would these people be? Jessica Lange who's played the same spaced-out character for decades now? Redgrave cannot do comedy; Huppert cannot project warmth to save her life; Glenn Close is a great villain and/or repressed woman, but not much besides; Winslet is too precious; Julianne Moore too stiff; Emma Thompson and Judy Davis too repetitive. The list goes on.
Meryl can do it ALL, in her sleep.
Bening, Dench, Cotillard, Swinton, Blanchett and Watts come close to her level of talent, I'll give you that. They are very versatile, able to portray convincingly disparate characters.
But none of them possess Meryl's superlative insight into the human psyche, her emotional availability, her intellectual hunger and her wit, nor do they have her well-oiled instrument as an actor. They cannot play music the way Meryl, and ONLY Meryl, can.
Meryl Streep is without equal (among female actors).
And r28? I am indeed the final word on anything and everything.
Half of this thread had realized that even before I came on board. That should tell you something, shouldn't it?