Wednesday 28 June 2017

Patricia Routledge: Prince Charles was thrilled I was finally made a dame

By Lucy Mapstone

The veteran stage and screen star was also looking forward to showing off her medal at lunch.

Dame Patricia Routledge said the Prince of Wales shared his joy with her that she has finally been recognised for her work in the theatre as she was honoured at Buckingham Palace.

The Keeping Up Appearances actress, 88, was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for her services to the theatre and charity and was honoured by Charles, who she said was “pleased” to see her receive the title.

Dame Patricia told the Press Association: “I’m still in a state of surprise and very thrilled, and very thrilled that the Prince of Wales is here today because he just loves actors and he (is) our much-appreciated patron of the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.”

She said: “He said, ‘at last somebody’s noticed’. He said how pleased he was, and a little more.”

Dame Patricia is known for her role as the hilariously snobbish Hyacinth Bucket in the hit BBC sitcom, but she has also had a prolific career in the theatre.

She won an Olivier Award for her role as the Old Lady in Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide in 1988, and a Tony Award for her part as Alice Challice in Darling Of The Day in 1968, and has worked in a number of productions across six decades.

She said she has no favoured role from her long career on the stage, adding: “I don’t do beloved roles, I’ve just had a wonderfully interesting time with so many roles. So many interesting plays.”

Dame Patricia said she will keep her medal safely stowed in a drawer, but she admitted she was going to show it off later in the day.

“I shall show it to people at lunch, obviously,” she said, revealing that she is celebrating by hosting a lunch party for 20 people.

Sir Richard Eyre, the newly knighted former artistic director of the National Theatre, said he was “flattered and surprised” when he discovered he was being made a member of the Companion of Honour for his services to drama.

The special award is granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government lasting over a long period of time.

Sir Richard, 73, said: “It means an enormous amount because it is recognition of the work I’ve done all my life. I’m very thrilled I do work that is recognised in such a way.”

He said he was “frankly astonished” and that he would mark the occasion with “a few glasses of champagne”.

Double Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan admitted to being “terribly nervous” ahead of the ceremony at Buckingham Palace and said she was surprised to be recognised because of her work in a “light” industry.

Jenny, who won Oscars for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road and A Room With A View, was awarded an OBE for her services to drama production.

She said: “This was so unexpected. In a way, what I do is quite light.

“It’s hard work and all that, but I suppose I’ve been at it for such a long time.

“But I was terribly nervous this morning. It’s a real honour. I was frightfully pleased.”

She shared her happiness at being given her medal by Charles and was glad that he remembered her after a previous meeting.

“He seemed to know who I was and we had met before, at the Oscars, and he did seem to like the films I do,” she said.

“I did manage to say to him that I think he is amazing with his work in the organic world and climate change and all that. I managed to say that, which I had always wanted to. I really respect him.”

Press Association

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