Dame Maggie Smith dines with the Queen at Windsor Castle

Dame Maggie Smith was among a select few privileged people invited to join the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle on Monday evening. The 80-year-old visited Her Majesty's Berkshire residence for a special 'dine and sleep' event, where guests dine together before staying the night.

The event happened during Easter Court, an annual occurrence which sees the Queen take up residence at Windsor Castle for a month between March and April. As well as hosting her 'dine and sleep' events, the Queen also holds investitures during her month at the castle.

Dame Maggie was among around 20 guests, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Andrew and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Previous events have seen Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Helena Bonham Carter all attend.


The Queen was joined by Dame Maggie Smith at her 'dine and sleep' event

The Downton Abbey star is no stranger to the British royals; she was made a Dame in 1990, and made a Companion of the Order of the Companions of Honour for her services to drama in the Queen's birthday honours in 2014.

The title is given to men and women for recognised services of national importance, and is an honour bestowed only on 65 members outside of the royal family.

The royals are known fans of Downton Abbey, in which Dame Maggie plays the Countess of Grantham. The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, toured the set of the period drama in March, while Sophie Wessex took the First Lady of Mexico, Angelica Rivera, to meet the cast just one week earlier.

Dame Maggie was made a Companion of Honour by the Queen in 2014

Dame Maggie is currently filming the sixth and final series of the ITV drama, which she says has taken its toll due to the level of fame it has given her.

"One isn't safe after doing Downton," she told The Sunday Times. "What's sad is I've gone through my whole life without any of that. I could go round galleries and things on my own and I just can't do it now. If someone decides to get at you, you can't get away."