Maggie Smith Receives Extremely Rare Honor from Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle

Pam WrightLife

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Maggie Smith received a rare, distinguished honor from Queen Elizabeth II Friday during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The actress, who portrays Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey, received the honor for her contribution to theater, cinema and television for the past 60 years.

Companions of Honor is awarded to very few people and is limited to 65 living people "of distinction."

Other members include physicist Stephen Hawking, actor Ian McKellen, actress Judi Dench and artist David Hockney.

Smith has won two Academy Awards for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and California Suite. The legendary actress also portrayed Professor McGonagall in all eight Harry Potter films.

The actress is currently filming The Lady in the Van — A film version of the stage production in which she portrayed a homeless eccentric who parked for years on the driveway of playwright Alan Bennett.

The honor carries no title but you can add a CH after your name. Maggie Smith has already been knighted by the Queen, so this is just one more feather in the actress' already impressive cap.

Pam Wright