I was trying to pay attention to when Queen Amidala was actually the decoy Sabé, played by Keira Knightley, but the makeup was generally too heavy for me to tell the difference.

In which scenes was it actually Keira Knightley under the makeup, and not Natalie Portman?

  • youtube.com/watch?v=RNEQ3y1qPAM
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 3:50
  • 1
    @randal'thor That vid quality is so poor that I can't visually confirm it. It's worse than when my declining vision was trying to watch it on my TV!
    – user31178
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 3:54
  • It was my understanding that Knightley was in the makeup as the queen anytime Padme was also in the scene.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:45
  • @phantom42 Makes sense, but sometimes the faces of the "help" were obscured or out of focus and so I couldn't tell if Padme was there.
    – user31178
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:46

2 Answers 2


tl;dr: Any time the queen is wearing the black dress with the feathered headdress or the red-and-black battle dress, it's Sabé/Keira.

Note that the following is written from an in-universe perspective, but the answer doesn't change for an out-of-universe perspective: there are no scenes where Keira plays Padmé or Natalie plays Sabé. (There are promotional materials that mix them up, but that's a different matter.)

Sabé, Rabé, Yané, Padmé, Saché
That's Sabé on the left, Padmé second from right. Rabé is behind Sabé, and the other two are Yané and Saché, but I can never tell those two apart.

Rabé, Eirtaé, Anakin, soldier, Sabé, Padmé
Left to right: Rabé, Eirtaé, Anakin, soldier, Sabé, Padmé.

The first time we see Sabé (in any dress) is when the "queen" and her handmaidens are escorted down that grand staircase. All through that scene, the subsequent rescue, any scenes on the ship on the trip to Coruscant (via Tatooine), and the arrival on Coruscant, it's Sabé posing as the queen.

On Coruscant, we briefly see Sabé in the "Anakin can't count" scene1, in the scene in Palpatine's quarters after the Senate debate, and when they re-board the ship, but in all three scenes, she's dressed as a handmaiden (black senate cloak, red cloak, and flame dress, respectively), not the queen.

We next see Sabé, dressed as the queen in the red and black battle dress, back on Naboo. All through the battle planning and the appeal to the Gungans, it's Sabé acting as the queen. Even after the ruse is revealed, Sabé stays in the queen's getup, which comes in handy when they're battling in the palace and she's captured.

In all subsequent appearances (greeting Palpatine in the yellow throne room dress, at Qui-Gon's funeral in a dark cloak, and at the end parade in the green dress), the queen is really the queen, and Sabé is a handmaiden.

(All credit to The Royal Handmaiden Society for the images and the refresher on who's where when.)

1 It's the scene where Rabé tells Anakin that Padmé isn't there, yet clearly all three handmaidens who came on the trip are in the room.

  • Very helpful, and that Handmaiden guide is a good find. There was a scene where the Queen/"Queen" was descending some stairs, which inspired the question, but I can't find a clip or cap of it.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 3:05
  • @CreationEdge: you mean this scene?
    – Martha
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 3:06
  • Yes! How did you navigate there? I didn't see any links go to there.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 3:08
  • 3
    @CreationEdge: I'm a founding member of the Royal Handmaiden Society, or at least of the discussion thread on the old theforce.net forums that started it all. I've got the home page bookmarked, and from there it's easy: go to galleries, then Episode 1, then the appropriate scene.
    – Martha
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 3:11
  • 1
    The handmaiden society links appear to be broken due to DNS error. did the address change?
    – JAB
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 0:45

I personally didn't have a difficulty seeing who was who at all and was surprised Knightley's own mother couldn't tell the difference supposedly.

the only times Padme is Amidala is at Naboo in the beginning (until the Jedi come) - i.e. the communique with the Viceroy, at the Senate, when Anakin visits to say goodbye; the rest were mostly Knightley.

Knightley's face is longer and more narrow, whereas Portman's is more square. I could point out who is who on the spot. i'm sure I'm not the only one.

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