By RUTH STYLES FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 12:19 EST, 17 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:37 EST, 17 October 2014
She's famous for her role as Downton Abbey's frosty matriarch but Dame Maggie Smith certainly met her match today when she was honoured by the Queen at Windsor Castle.
The 79-year-old, famed for her roles in Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films, was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour and joins an illustrious group of recipients who include Professor Stephen Hawking and painter David Hockney.
She was presented with the award during an investiture at the Queen's Berkshire home but declined to speak to the press after the ceremony.
One of the most popular of Britain's actresses, Dame Maggie is synonymous with her roles as the Countess of Grantham in period drama Downton Abbey and Harry Potter's equally sharp-tongued Professor Minerva McGonagall.
But she has had an extensive career that stretches back to the 1950s, which began professionally at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952 and includes stints on Broadway.
Her stage performances have drawn critical acclaim and she has collected numerous awards for roles in plays such as Hedda Gabler, Three Sisters and Private Lives.
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