British lesbian actress Miriam Margolyes has blasted England in a speech after she became a binational Australian citizen.
One of Britain’s most respected actresses, perhaps most famous as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films, criticized her native home for its class distinction.
At a citizenship ceremony presided over by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, she said: ‘I don’t like class distinction and there is far too much of that in England.
‘There’s an energy here – an optimism, a vitality. I think England doesn’t have that any more.
‘There’s an irony and not accepting bullshit and I love that, that straight-talking stuff.’
In Gillard’s speech, she told the audience: ‘This is your new country, and you’ll never want another. Welcome to citizenship. Welcome to Australia. Welcome home. ‘
Margolyes has divided her life between homes in London and Robertson, New South Wales, for years as her partner Heather is Australian.
Keeping her British citizenship, she said: ‘My partner of 44 years is Australian and she is the main reason for becoming Australian – because I want to be closer to her.
‘We met in 1968 in London when she was on a research trip to London. Being in Australia makes me happy, my partner is Australian and my home is in Australia and it’s ridiculous not to be Australian – it’s a logical step to take.
‘I think I should be described as bi – not bisexual because I’m not – I’m gay – but binational because I retain British nationality and I add to it being Australian, which is like having your cake and eating it.’
Born in Oxford, Margolyes won a BAFTA for best supporting actress for the 1993 Martin Scorsese film The Age of Innocence.