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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
CBE for TV favourite Routledge
Patricia Routledge
Routledge played a detective in Hetty Wainthropp Investigates
Patricia Routledge's CBE in the Queen's birthday honours confirms her status as one of the UK's most popular television stars.

The 75-year-old actress, best known for her performance as snooty suburbanite Hyacinth Bucket in BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, was awarded an OBE in 1993.

Now she can add a CBE for services to drama to a trophy cabinet that already boasts a Tony, an Olivier and a British Comedy award.

At the BBC's 60th anniversary awards in 1996 she was voted the nation's most popular actress. She was also a personal favourite of the late Queen Mother.

Born Katherine Patricia Routledge in 1929 in Birkenhead, the haberdasher's daughter read English at Liverpool University with the intention of becoming a headmistress.

The theatre beckoned, however, and after working as an unpaid stage manager at the Liverpool Playhouse she made her professional debut in 1952 in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Broadway

After training at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school, Routledge made her London debut in 1954 in Sheridan's Duenna.

Twelve years later she made her New York debut playing three roles in How's The World Treating You.

Two years later her performance in the Broadway musical Darling of the Day won her a Tony Award for best actress.

Patricia Routledge and Clive Swift in Keeping Up Appearances
Routledge with Clive Swift, her co-star in Keeping Up Appearances
Despite this, however, Routledge would achieve her greatest success on the small screen.

Her role as domineering snob Hyacinth Bucket - pronounced "Bouquet" - in Keeping Up Appearances made her a firm favourite with viewers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The playwright Alan Bennett, a personal friend, wrote three Talking Heads monologues for her: A Woman of No Importance in 1982, 1988's A Lady of Letters and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet, broadcast in 1998.

She remained a ratings draw playing an amateur detective in BBC comedy drama Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

Routledge, who never married, lives in Chichester, West Sussex and regularly performs at the town's Festival Theatre.

Her recent stage roles include Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Beatrix Potter in a one-woman show based on the author's life.


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