Queen Elizabeth II has named soap actress Joan Collins (ex-Alexandra Spaulding, Guiding Light; ex-Alexis Carrington, Dynasty) a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition "for services to charity," the British government has announced. Or, in other words, Collins is officially a dame, which is the female equivalent to a knight.
"I have to say I'm ecstatic. I feel very teary, actually. When I first heard, I really couldn't quite believe it... I'm delirious, thrilled and excited and very, very honored," the London native told BBC News. "I am very pleased about being recognized for my charitable and philanthropic work because... I'm not a grand standard with it. It's quite under the radar and it's all mostly to do with children -- all of my charities are involved with children -- particularly the Shooting Star Chase children's hospice, which is very dear to my heart and very important to me."
The actress, who will be portraying the Duchess of Oxford in E!'s upcoming original drama, The Royals, says that nothing compares to the honor of being named a dame. "Getting that kind of accolade from my country, from my queen -- I'm very patriotic and quite a royalist as well. It is extraordinary," she enthuses. "What can I say? It's beyond anything that one could ever dream of happening."