Dame Barbara, 83, died this week after an illustrious acting career in both TV and film. She was renowned for playing Peggy Mitchell on Eastenders, the Queen Vic landlady who had a penchant for slapping some other characters. Emotional tributes for the famous actress have been pouring in today, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson remembered how she “cheered the world up with her own British brand of harmless sauciness and innocent scandal”.
The Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, honoured her memory in a social media post which read: “A great British actor and tireless charity campaigner who will be deeply missed.”
Comedian David Walliams even called her “the unofficial Queen of England” and an “icon treasured by the nation”.
Dame Barbara was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) back in 2000 and then put forward as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for her services to charity and entertainment.
When the news of her appointment broke in December 2015, the Palace surprisingly spoke up about what the monarch thought of the “unofficial queen”.
According to , a Buckingham Palace source said: “The Queen was delighted when Barbara’s name was put forward.
“Like Her Majesty, she is someone who has been part of the fabric of the way of life in Britain for years.”
The Queen met Dame Barbara in 2001, when the sovereign visited the Elstree Studios where Eastenders is filmed.
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She later spoke of her pride after receiving the honour, especially as she was the first dame ever appointed from Eastenders.
But, despite their apparent bond, it turns out Dame Barbara had a soft spot for a different royal.
She revealed in 2007 that the heir apparent was her favourite member of the Royal Family, and noted: “He’s the only royal I’ve got a photo of in my house.”
The actress met Prince Charles at a charity reception for Age Concern, which the heir apparent is a patron of.
She continued: “He’s so attractive. He’s got lots of sex appeal and a great sense of humour.”
However, the acting legend also sang Camilla’s praises, having met her several times in the past.
She said: “I think she’s a wonderful bird. She’s funny, she’s good. She makes me laugh.”
Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, and went public with the diagnosis four years later.