Stage and film actress made Dame

AWARD-winning actress Harriet Walter has been made a Dame for services to drama, after a distinguished career on stage and screen.

Acting runs in the family for the 60-year-old – she is the niece of Hammer horror legend Lord of the Rings star Christopher Lee.

Walter has an association with the Royal Shakespeare Company stretching back more than 25 years, and is an associate artist with the company.

Her distinctive English accent has made her a favourite in period cinema and she has appeared in dozens of films, including the 1995 multi-award winning period drama Sense and Sensibility, Babel in 2006, and 2007's Atonement.

Her most recent credits include 2009's low-budget cult British mockumentary Morris: A Life with Bells On and the award-winning The Young Victoria.

Numerous television appearances include roles in the BBC's Little Dorrit and a stint in Law and Order: UK.

Walter is also the author of Other People's Shoes, a guide for budding actors, and earlier this year organised a photography exhibition at the National Theatre celebrating ageing female beauty.

Her partner, the actor Peter Blythe, died in 2004.

Walter was awarded the CBE in 2000.