- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

LONDON (AP) - British royalty has met acting aristocracy, as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II bestowed an honor on Maggie Smith during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Smith, who plays the imperious Dowager Countess of Grantham on “Downton Abbey,” was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor on Friday in recognition of her six decades in theater, cinema and television.

The award is limited to 65 living people “of distinction.” Other members include physicist Stephen Hawking, actor Ian McKellen and artist David Hockney.

The 79-year-old actress has won two Academy Awards, for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and “California Suite.”

She is currently filming “The Lady in the Van,” reprising her stage role as a homeless eccentric who parked for years on the driveway of playwright Alan Bennett.


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