Queen an ‘extraordinary’ woman, says Joanna Lumley

Dame Joanna said Britain should continue to try to make the monarchy work successfully.

17 March 2022

Dame Joanna Lumley has spoken of her admiration for the Queen saying “she’s never called for days off” and “never complained” during her 70-year reign.

Speaking on the Table Manners podcast, Dame Joanna, 75, described the Queen as an “extraordinary woman”, and said Britain should continue to make the monarchy work until the nation becomes a republic.

She said: “I love the Queen. I think this country is a monarchy and until it isn’t, it is, if you know what I mean.

“So what we’ve got to do is to make it work and if it doesn’t work then we become a republic, but we’re not at the republic yet, so it’s no use just whining and carping, and in the middle of it is this extraordinary woman who knew she was going to be Queen when she was 10 and that hung over her and it is still her duty and her faith and what she believes in, and now she’s 95 doing the boxes everyday. It’s extraordinary.”

Dame Joanna has previously been vocal about her support of the royal family and has developed friendly relationships with some of its members, including the Prince of Wales.

She has recently published a book about the Queen, titled A Queen For All Seasons, to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

Dame Joanna told mother and daughter podcast duo Jessie and Lennie Ware: “The thing is, is that she’s never stopped what she’s had to do. She’s never called for days off, the very few times she’s had to back out was when she was really too ill to go out.

“Most of the time, on she’s gone, never complained and never spoken about it. Even when people wrote evil things about her, couldn’t write back, couldn’t say anything back.”

The Absolutely Fabulous actress was awarded an OBE in 1995 and recently received a DBE in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes.

Speaking about her damehood, she said: “Honestly, I’m so excited, I can’t tell you. It was the most unexpected thing in the world.

“I was the proud owner of an OBE, which we call an Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I had an OBE and I thought ‘this is just magic, nothing can be finer than this’ and OBE doesn’t usually lead, a CBE, which is a step up from that, usually leads to being a dame.”

Samaritans reception at Clarence House
Dame Joanna has become well acquainted with members of the royal family over the course of her career (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

She added: “So when this letter arrived on December 4, so it was quite late, my husband wasn’t there because he was in Birmingham and I opened this letter which looked a little bit formal and I thought ‘oh God, this will be something else I’ve left out, another ticket or something’ and anyway, it said your name has been put forward for a DBE and I burst into tears. Jessie, I burst into tears because it was such a shock.

“You get a letter from the honours committee… they said it was for drama, entertainment and charity, so that was the kindest little trio. I never would have accepted it for charity because I think if you do good things, it’s up to you whether you want to honour it, do you know what I mean? And my OBE was given to me to services to drama or entertainment or whatever it was.”

Dame Joanna has also previously expressed her disapproval of the hit Netflix show The Crown and its fictional storylines about the British monarchy.

She said: “I don’t watch it because I know them. I know the royal family. I know them, and it’s awful to see people, with stuff being made up as if they said it when they really didn’t because it’s made up.

“It’s written by a script writer and people imagining how things went, which isn’t what happened because we know it’s made up. That doesn’t seem fair.”

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