Having won an Oscar for her role of Queen Elizabeth I in 1998 for Shakespeare In Love, as well as treaded the boards for decades in roles written by the playwright, it seems apt that Dame Judi Dench has discovered historical connections to the man himself.
Taking part on the series Who Do You Think You Are, the actress, 86, has been told that her maternal ancestor was at the court of a castle with links to Hamlet.
In addition to this, another ancestor attended performances by a travelling English actor who happened to be one of Shakespeare’s favourite players.
Delving deeper: Judi Dench dug into her heritage for TV show Who Do You Think You Are
‘I hope my maternal eight times Grandmother liked Shakespeare otherwise she might have given the evening a miss!’ Judi quipped.’But knowing that 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.’
During the episode, Judi also discovered links to Scandinavia and royalty – with one a lady in waiting in the Danish court.
Connections: The Oscar-winner has discovered her ancestors had multiple links to William Shakespeare himself
Links: Judi won an Oscar for her role of Queen Elizabeth I in 1998 for Shakespeare In Love
‘Beloved Shakespeare’: She has treaded the boards for decades in roles written by the playwright [pictured in Romeo And Juliet in January 1965]
‘I had no idea about any of that,’ she said.’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!’
Asked why she wanted to take part in the show, Judi cited her mother as a driving factor.
‘Not knowing anything about my mother’s side of the family I was very interested to find out more,’ she said.’I know that we have the head of a unicorn as our family crest and I was very interested to find out whether it had a motto below it.
Thespian: Judi is seen in The Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare at the Garrick Theatre, London, in 2015
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