Dame Judi Dench astonished to discover her family’s real life royal connections

Much-loved British actress Dame Jude Dench – who has played Queen Victoria and Elizabeth I on screen – has revealed she was shocked to discover she is descended from real life royalty

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay nowJudi Dench admits she’s never seen her own filmsByNeil GouldingShowbiz Reporter

  • 12:10, 12 Oct 2021
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Dame Judi Dench was left flabbergasted after finding out she has links to royalty.


The Oscar-winning British actress starred in the BBC’s people Who Do You Think You Are series.

After digging way back into her heritage, the 86-year-old Hollywood star discovered she has links with both the Danish and Swedish royal families.

“I had no idea about any of that,” admitted a shocked Judi on the show.

“Or even that we had any Danish connections, but this I have found out is my mother’s family and now of course I want to explore it further.

“And now I believe there are Swedish connections too, this may well prompt a visit there as well!”

Dame Judi Dench has delved into her royal roots

Asked if the discoveries have changed how she views herself, Dame Judi joked: “I look in the mirror all the time now and think, “Awwww Scandinavia!”.

Dame Judi famously won an Oscar in 1998 for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in hit film Shakespeare in Love while she also played Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown and again in Victoria & Abdul.

In more recent years she became ever-more popular for her role as M16 chief M in James Bond alongside Daniel Craig.

But taking a break from the big screen, Judi was keen to explore her ancestry in the BBC programme.

“I am sure that investigating anyone’s past would have parts that could surprise or even shock you,” she admitted.

Dame Judi won an Oscar in 1998 for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I

“The work that researchers do is so thorough that there are bound to be some surprises to be found. Naturally, I was concerned about the possibility of what I might be told.”

She also couldn’t believe that her maternal ancestor was a lady in waiting in the Danish royal family, as well as having links to William Shakespeare 's play Hamlet

The castle where Dame Judi’s ancestor was at court was Kronborg Castle in Denmark, which is believed to have been the inspiration for the Castle of Elsinore in Hamlet.

“I hope my maternal eight times Grandmother liked Shakespeare otherwise she might have given the evening a miss!” Judi quipped on the show.

“But knowing that [one of the early actors in Shakespeare's plays] Will Kempe visited the castle and presumably performed there does make me feel that I have got a step nearer to my beloved Shakespeare.

“The Castle was Kronborg Castle and was the Castle of Elsinore in Hamlet, a place I have always wanted to visit and now I have!

“Not only have I visited it but I now have a link to it too.”

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