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Monday 11 November 2019

Emma Thompson made a dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours

The actress has already received a string of accolades during her glittering career.

Emma Thompson has enjoyed success at the box office and with critics (Ian West/PA)
Emma Thompson has enjoyed success at the box office and with critics (Ian West/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

One of Britain’s most acclaimed actresses, Emma Thompson has been a stalwart of the big and small screen since the late 1980s but has maintained an un-starry air throughout her dazzling career.

It is for her services to drama that the star, 59, has earned a damehood in the Queens’s Birthday Honours list, continuing a long list of achievements that includes Oscars, Baftas, Golden Globes and Emmys.

She has also enjoyed success at the box office and with critics, with literary adaptations such as Sense And Sensibility; for which she won an Oscar for writing the adaptation; Howards End; which scored her a best actress Oscar, and The Remains Of The Day as well as crowd-pleasers such as Love Actually, the Nanny McPhee films, which she also wrote, and the Harry Potter blockbusters.

Emma Thompson in Sense And Sensibility (Sony)

Born in 1959 to an acting parents – her mother is Phyllida Law and her father Eric Thompson narrated the English version of The Magic Roundabout – Thompson became a self-proclaimed feminist while reading English at Newnham College, Cambridge.

It was there she also discovered a love of performing and joined Footlights alongside Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

Her professional breakthrough came in 1987 when she starred in Fortunes Of War and Tutti Frutti, the former opposite Kenneth Branagh, who would go on to become her first husband.

Emma Thompson with Kenneth Branagh (Adam Butler/PA)

Her relationship with Branagh, to whom she was married between 1989 and 1995, was as professionally productive as it was romantic and she starred in a string of his Shakespearean adaptations on stage and screen, including Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing.

At the 1994 Oscars, Thompson became the eighth performer in history to be nominated for two statues in the same year, when she scored a best actress nod for The Remains Of The Day and a best supporting actress nomination for In The Name Of The Father, in which she starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis.

One of her biggest commercial successes came in 2003 in Love Actually, in which she suspects her husband (played by Alan Rickman) of infidelity.

She has said this is the role she gets commended for more than any other.

Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Keira Knightley at the Love Actually premiere (Ian West/PA)

Famously fun-loving, she earned even more fans when she walked on to the stage of the Golden Globes in 2014 carrying her high heels and a martini.

Also an outspoken human rights activist, she is a supporter of the Labour party and a campaigner for Greenpeace.

She still lives on the road where she grew up in London with her husband Greg Wise, whom she met while filming Sense And Sensibility.

Emma Thompson with husband Greg Wise, second left, daughter Gaia and adopted son Tindyebwa Agaba at the Baftas in 2014 (Ian West/PA)

The couple have a daughter Gaia, 18, and a son, Tindyebwa Agaba, a Rwandan orphan they informally adopted in 2003 when he was 14.

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