Maggie Smith of 'Downton Abbey' Honored by Queen Elizabeth

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Maggie Smith, known for her role on the PBS hit series Downton Abbey, was honored on Friday by Queen Elizabeth. The queen made Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham, a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor in recognition of her 60 years in theater, cinema and TV. A ceremony honoring the 79-year-old Oscar-winning actress was held at Windsor Castle. Only 65 living people may receive the honor. Stephen Hawking, Ian McKeller and David Hockney are among those presently honored.

This wasn't the first time that Maggie Smith met Queen Elizabeth either. In 1989, the actress was made a dame commander of the Order of the British Empire, which is similar to a knighthood and gives her the title of Dame. That is the female equivalent of Sir.

Maggie Smith is beloved by Harry Potter fans as well as her Downton Abbey fans. She is also known for her role as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter series of films. Now that this latest honor has been bestowed upon her, Maggie Smith can add the initials 'CH' after her name. It will be interesting to see if she adds them to her name when it is shared in credits--either for Downton Abbey or any additional roles the actress might play.

Speaking of those additional roles, Maggie Smith starred in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2011, and will reprise her role as Muriel Donnelly in the sequel, which is due out in 2015. She is presently filming a new movie called The Lady in the Van. Smith starred in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and California Suite--and earned Academy Awards for both.

Congratulations to Maggie Smith on this latest honor. It must have been very exciting for--not only to receive this honor, but also to have it presented to her by Queen Elizabeth.

Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and ‘Nana’ to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.