Dame Maggie's Windsor Castle call
Published 13/04/2015 | 16:46
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have invited the "Dowager Countess of Grantham" to dine at Windsor Castle this evening.
Acclaimed actress Dame Maggie Smith - who plays acerbic matriarch Violet Crawley in the hit period drama Downton Abbey - is among 20 guests the monarch and Philip have asked to a private dinner party at the historic Berkshire residence.
Among those at the soiree will be the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and his wife Diana, and the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife Caroline.
Also present will be the Duke of York, US ambassador Matthew W. Barzun, journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue and his wife Iranian architect Bita Ghezelayagh and the artist Christopher Le Brun.
The Queen takes up official residence at Windsor for a month in the spring for Easter Court when she hosts dinner parties - often for famous guests who in the past have included director Tim Burton, actress Helena Bonham Carter, Bond star Daniel Craig and actress Rachel Weisz.
Known as "dine and sleep" events, guests are also given a bed for the night.
Dame Maggie Smith was at Windsor Castle for an investiture ceremony in October, when the Queen presented her with a prestigious award. She was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in recognition of a career on stage and screen which has lasted more than 60 years.
The actress missed the Duchess of Cambridge's visit to the Downton Abbey set last month due to illness, but the Court Circular recorded that Dame Maggie has been invited to the monarch's dinner party this evening.