Earlier this week, one of Britain’s leading ladies and star of the big screen, Emma Thompson, received a damehood from Buckingham Palace for her services to drama. Joined by her family and fellow recipients, Thompson dazzled in a navy Stella McCartney suit and white trainers – a breach of protocol? Yes. Did she sport an edgy, modern and fantastically ‘Emma Thompson’ look? Most definitely.
Beginning her career at the University of Cambridge’s Footlight Troupe, Thompson met and worked alongside fellow notable British actors, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Fast forward over thirty years, and Thompson has portrayed roles that encourage, strengthen and above all, empower women. From period dramas, comedies to the Christmas favourite, Love Actually – will we EVER get over Alan Rickman cheating on her?
I don’t have technique because I never learnt any.
From roles in Sense and Sensibility, Nanny McPhee, Love Actually, Saving Mr Banks, King Lear, The Children Act, In The Name of the Father and Howard’s End (to name a few), it is clear that Thompson is no stranger to the realms of film and television, reinforcing what many critics have often said about this unstoppable force of a woman – she’s perhaps the greatest actress of her time.
A campaigner and “card carrying feminist” from a young age, Thompson has tirelessly worked alongside numerous charities including Hunger UK, ActionAid and Greenpeace. Her humanitarian efforts have seen the actress travel to impoverished African cities from Uganda to Ethiopia, lending her status and passion in a bid to help combat hunger, famine, droughts and war crises. Her activism has also crossed boundaries into the realms of women’s rights, political support of the Labour Party, torture victims, AIDS sufferers and environmental damage relief efforts. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
It’s unfortunate and I really wish I wouldn’t have to say this, but I really like human beings who have suffered. They’re kinder.
No stranger to the stage as an actress or to accept an award for her services, as of 2018, it is reported that Thompson has earned 60 awards in her time including two Academy Awards (1993 – Best Actress in a Leading Role for Howard’s End and 1996 – Best Writing for Sense and Sensibility) with another three nominations to her name, alongside a further 106 nominations across British and international film boards and artistic organisations.
Certainly one of my own favourite actresses and writers, I’m thrilled Thompson has received the recognition she deserves for her services to drama, writing and television. A star in her home country of humble Britain and across the pond in the United States, Emma Thompson has proved she is not only a national treasure, but an international one too.
Words by Paige Bradshaw