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Dame Joanna Lumley speaks of her pride at honours

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.”

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.”

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