Joanna Lumley can't watch The Crown as she 'knows the Royal Family and has loyalty'

During a career spanning more than 50 years, Joanna Lumley has been a top model, a Bond girl, a New Avenger and, of course, the drug-addicted, hard-drinking, man-eating fashion editor Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous.

She is TV royalty and has also become friends with the real thing, meeting the Queen many times and getting to know several members of the Royal family.

However, when those two worlds collide, specifically in the shape of hit show The Crown, Joanna was less than impressed.

The 75-year-old admits she watched some older episodes about the Queen's early life as she did not know anything about it but then things changed.

She commented: "Suddenly, it began to get closer and closer and they had people acting as Prince Charles, as Camilla Parker Bowles, as Princess Anne. I know them all."

"I know that's not how they speak or what they said or did. People say, 'Oh, well everybody knows that it's made up.' People don't, people think it's the truth," she continued.

The actor added: "So I decided not to watch it anymore because I have some loyalty, as one would to anybody they know and like and are lucky enough to be friendly with.

"It's rather ghastly. I mean think of somebody imagining what you say and then it becoming something spread around the world and people believing it's the gospel truth."

She commented: "It must be agonising. So I thought I should step away from it. I couldn't bring myself to watch it because it's made up."

Joanna, who has just written a book, A Queen for All Seasons: A Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee, further spoke about the Royal Family.

She said: "If you do meet any member of the Royal family, they are so kind and so friendly and so polite and not grand. You'll find kindly, good-hearted people."

The actor has written previous books but had not considered one about the Queen until publishers had approached her.

Lumley, a self-described "Army brat," was a schoolgirl in Malaysia at the time of the 1953 Coronation, which she watched on television.

Since then she has followed the monarch's life, admiring her devotion to duty. Lumley received her OBE from the royal in 1995. Speaking via Zoom from her London home, she says: "I think we are very honoured and very lucky to have the Queen."

"What I wanted to do is to show how an ordinary woman, because we are all ordinary people really, has made herself extraordinary through shared dutiful determination to do what's right.

"She's never faulted and never failed. My admiration for her has simply grown over the years because I think a lot of us would have just said, 'This is a nightmare, I am getting out of this, I don't want to do this anymore.' But you can't do that if you are Queen."

Joanna came to fame as a model in London's Swinging Sixties where she was snapped by top photographers including her late friend Patrick Lichfield, the Queen's first cousin.

Joanna Lumley can't watch The Crown as she 'knows the Royal Family and has loyalty'

She began her movie career in 1969 with a role in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, starring as one of Blofeld's Angels of Death.

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Lumley briefly played Ken Barlow's girlfriend Elaine Perkins in Coronation Street but her breakthrough came when she was cast in The New Avengers.

She became a pin-up for a generation who grew up watching her as the high-kicking action woman Purdey. Her character also sparked must-have ’70s hairdo - the Purdey bob.

The part led to a series of film roles including two Pink Panther movies, Shirley Valentine and The Wolf of Wall Street in which she kissed Leonardo Di Caprio. But it was her portrayal of Patsy in comedy Ab Fab that shot her to wider acclaim and several BAFTAs.

Joanna has also hosted travel shows, including ITV 's Joanna Lumley's Unseen Adventures. She says: "I have written about six books and done so many different things - radio plays, television series, films, theatre."

"People adore Patsy and sometimes it's quite nice to put your hair up and just say, 'Hi, sweetie' and have a cigarette like Patsy did.

"She's still around. And next week I am having dinner again with Jennifer Saunders and whenever the two of us are together, we just sit and laugh until we cry about what Patsy and Eddie would be doing."

She attributes her energy to the fact she has ditched meat for more than 40 years. Lumley says: "I became a vegetarian because I suddenly thought I don't want any animals to be killed for me to live, because I know I can live perfectly well without meat or fish."

She added her conductor husband Stephen Barlow is working abroad this weekend and she will try veganism.

Lumley said: "With all the things you can eat, vegetables and seeds and nuts and mushrooms and sauces and spices, you can make wonderful food. But it's very difficult when you go out to a friend who cooks for you."

"They can manage vegetarianism, but veganism they can't stand. So, I am wavering a bit between the two."

The star, who has son Jamie, 54, from a previous relationship, added she is full of energy and takes power naps like Sir Winston Churchill. She said she does not expect the Queen to read her book but has sent her a copy.

Lumley said she wanted to dedicate it to the Queen but the monarch's private secretary told her she does not want these types of tributes.

She added: "I said, 'If I were to send the book to the Queen, do you think Her Majesty would receive it?' They said, 'Kindly please send it and we will see it is placed before Her Majesty.'

"And I know almost for a fact the Queen and the late Prince Philip never read books about themselves. But I sent it to various other members of the Royal Family and I know it has been well received. So that makes me feel extremely happy."

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