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Helen Mirren was wary of royal honour

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Aug 18, 2014 | 5:36am EDT

Actress Dame Helen Mirren was reluctant to accept her prestigious title from Queen Elizabeth II as she felt it was betraying her anti-establishment credentials. The Gosford Park star was awarded a damehood in 2003 for services to the performing arts and admits that although flattered to be chosen, she was "wary" of receiving the honour. She feared it would go against the tradition of actors avoiding close ties with establishment bodies, but she eventually agreed to accept it in memory of her father and ancestors. Dame Helen tells British magazine Notebook, "I was kind of ambivalent about it because I've always seen myself as slightly on the outside or the edge of things. And in Britain, a damehood is very much being welcomed by the establishment... so I was a bit wary. To me, actors shouldn't be too establishment. Our job is to be sort of anti-establishment. "But on the other hand... I just know how incredibly proud my father and Russian ancestors would have been. So, I took it for that reason and I did feel embarrassingly proud about it."

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