Queen scolded Miriam Margolyes in excruciating encounter: ‘Thought I was an idiot!’

Alan Cumming reacts to Miriam Margolyes jock strap comment

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Miriam Margolyes returns to our screens tonight on The Graham Norton Show. The actress is joined on the sofa by Ghostbusters actor Paul Rudd, legendary film director Ron Howard, Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry and national treasure Stephen Fry. Gregory Porter will also perform Revival on tonight’s show, which airs at 10:35pm on BBC One.

Award-winning actress Ms Margolyes will be discussing her autobiography ‘This Much Is True’ with Mr Norton.

The new memoir includes tales of her relationship, the Royal Family, and why nothing beats the “buzz” she gets from shocking people with her stories.

Ms Margolyes played Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series, and won a BAFTA for her role in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Age of Innocence’.

The actress, 80, admitted she had an “embarrassing” run-in with the Queen while attending a British Book Week reception at Buckingham Palace a few years ago.

She recalled the incident, reported in The Sun, in 2019: “The Queen walked over to me and she said: ‘And what do you do?’

“And I said, instead of saying ‘I’m an actress’ or ‘I read stories’, I said ‘I’m the best reader of stories in the whole world!’

“When you meet royalty something snaps in you, I was nervous and I behaved like an idiot.”

Discussing the encounter again on ITV’s This Morning last year, she said the Queen pulled a face and immediately went on to the next person.

The man next to Ms Margolyes explained to Her Majesty that he taught dyslexic children to read, putting the letters and pages in different colours, which helps the children to read and absorb the information more easily.

She continued: “I stood next to him and said, ‘really, how fascinating, I didn’t know that’.

“She turned to me and said, ‘be quiet’.

“She had every right to do so, but it was a bit discombobulating.”

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Ms Margolyes added to The Sun: “It was so embarrassing.

“The Queen thought I was an idiot and she was quite right. But I thought she was a little harsh.”

Ms Margolyes, who divides her times between the UK, Australia and Italy, recently admitted she “regrets” coming out as gay to her parents.

She has been in a relationship with Heather Sutherland, a now retired Australian professor, since 1968.

Speaking on Loose Women last week, she said: “Coming out is an indulgence. If you tell people who can’t bear the information, you’re hurting them and it’s not kind.

“Ian McKellen, my dear friend, disagrees with me on that, but I don’t care. That’s what I think, don’t tell people who can’t bear it.”

She explained that she had been raised to tell her parents “everything” and was “completely open” with her family.

She continued: “Now I wish I hadn’t, I think it upset my mother terribly. I think she had a stroke, possibly, as a result.”

In a previous interview with journalist Johnny Seifert, she said attitudes towards same-sex relationships at the time made it difficult to tell her parents of her sexuality.

She said: “People who were gay were pitied and ridiculed by my parents — they had no modern sense of people being allowed to be who they were.”

She added that her mother was “utterly appalled and disgusted” and made her swear on the Bible in their drawing room to never sleep with a woman again.

Ms Margolyes, then 27, said she would not do so, despite knowing that she would not stick to the promise.

Miriam Margolyes appears on the Graham Norton Show, which airs on Friday at 10:35pm. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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