Harriet Walter

Walter in 2009
Harriet Mary Walter

(1950-09-24) 24 September 1950 (age 72)
London, England, UK
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active1974–present
Guy Paul
(m. 2011)
PartnerPeter Blythe (1996–2004; his death)

Dame Harriet Mary Walter DBE (born 24 September 1950) is a British actress. Known for her extensive work in numerous Royal Shakespeare Company productions, Walter has received an Olivier Award as well as nominations for a Tony Award, five Emmy Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2011, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to drama.

Walter began her career acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company in productions of Twelfth Night (1987–88) and Three Sisters (1988), for which she received the Olivier Award for Best Actress. She received further Olivier nominations for Life x 3 (2001), and Mary Stuart (2006). Her other notable work for the RSC includes leading roles in Macbeth (1999) and Antony and Cleopatra (2006).

She made her Broadway debut in the 1983 revival of the William Shakespeare play All's Well That Ends Well (1983). She returned to Broadway in Mary Stuart for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She reprised her roles of Brutus in Julius Caesar (2012) and the title role in Henry IV (2014), as well as playing Prospero in The Tempest, as part of an all-female Shakespeare trilogy in 2016.

Walter has acted in the films Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Governess (1998), Atonement (2007), The Young Victoria (2009), A Royal Affair (2012), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Denial (2016), The Sense of an Ending (2017), Rocketman (2019) and The Last Duel (2021). On television she starred as Harriet Vane in the 1987 BBC Wimsey dramatisations and as Natalie Chandler in the ITV drama series Law & Order: UK from 2009 to 2014. She has also acted in Downton Abbey (2013–15), London Spy (2015), The Crown (2016), Patrick Melrose (2018), Killing Eve (2020), and Silo (2023). She has earned Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her roles in Succession (2018–2023) and Ted Lasso (2021–2023).

Early life

Walter was born in London, England. She is the niece of British actor Sir Christopher Lee,[1] being the daughter of his elder sister Xandra Lee. On her father's side, Walter is a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of John Walter, founder of The Times.[2] She was educated at Cranborne Chase School. After turning down a university education, she was in turn rejected by five different drama schools before being admitted to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[3] Following her training, she gained early experience with the Joint Stock Theatre Company, Paines Plough touring, and the Duke's Playhouse, Lancaster.[4]


She has worked many times throughout her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in productions including Nicholas Nickleby (1980), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981), as Helena in All's Well That Ends Well (1981), The Castle (1985), Dasha in A Question of Geography, Viola in Twelfth Night (1988), Masha in Three Sisters (1988), The Duchess of Malfi (1989), Macbeth (1999) and Much Ado about Nothing (2002). She returned to the RSC in 2015 to play Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman, directed by Gregory Doran.

She was made an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987. Her other theatre work includes Three Birds Alighting on a Field (1991), Arcadia (1993), Hedda Gabler (1996), Ivanov (1997) and Mary Stuart (2005).

In New York, she made her Broadway debut in 1983, when the RSC production of All's Well That Ends Well transferred there. In 1993 she starred as Biddy in the Off-Broadway production of Three Birds Alighting on a Field, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination. She returned to the Broadway stage in 2009 when she and Janet McTeer reprised their roles in Mary Stuart. In 2014 Walter starred as Brutus in an all-female production of Julius Caesar Off-Broadway and received her second Drama Desk nomination.

Her films include Sense and Sensibility (1995), Bedrooms and Hallways (1998), The Governess (1998), Onegin (1999), Villa des Roses (2002) and Bright Young Things (2003). On television, in 1987, she portrayed Lord Peter Wimsey's love interest Harriet Vane for three instalments of the BBC's A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery, played Detective Inspector Natalie Chandler from 2009 to 2012 in the ITV drama series Law & Order: UK. Other TV roles include Annie Keel in the 2001 series Waking the Dead, Mrs. Gowan in the 2008 BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit, Clare in A Short Stay in Switzerland (2009) and Lady Shackleton in four episodes of the series Downton Abbey (2013–15).[5] In 2016, she played Clementine Churchill on the Netflix series The Crown, and in 2017, appeared in two episodes of the BBC drama Call the Midwife as Sister Ursula. She appeared in the HBO series Succession (2018⁠–23) as recurring character Lady Caroline Collingwood, mother of the Roy siblings.

On 19 August 2019 Deadline reported that Walter would be joining the cast of the BBC America and AMC series Killing Eve.[6] Walter played Dasha, a Russian exile and former Olympics gymnastics champion who trained Villanelle in assassination.[7]

She is also a patron of several notable charities; the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres,[8] Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas and their families and Clean Break, a charity and theatre company dedicated to sharing the often hidden stories of imprisoned women, and to transforming the lives of women offenders and—through theatre education—of women at risk of offending.

Walter played Brutus in Julius Caesar in 2012, and the title role in Henry IV in 2014, in all-female productions at the Donmar Warehouse. Both productions transferred to Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse in New York. She was set to reprise both roles, as well as playing Prospero in an all-female production of The Tempest, as part of director Phyllida Lloyd's Shakespeare trilogy at the Donmar's temporary, in-the-round, 420-seat theatre next to King's Cross station in 2016.

Personal life

Walter's partner from 1996 until his death in 2004 was actor Peter Blythe.[9] She met actor Guy Paul in 2009 and they married in May 2011.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 Reflections Ottilie Garinger
1985 The Good Father Emmy Hooper
Turtle Diary Harriet Simms
1990 May Fools Lily
1993 The Hour of the Pig Jeannie Martin
1995 Sense and Sensibility Fanny Dashwood
1996 The Leading Man Liz Flett
1997 Keep the Aspidistra Flying Julia Comstock
1998 Bedrooms and Hallways Sybil
The Governess Mrs. Cavendish
1999 Onegin Madame Larina
2002 Villa des Roses Olive Burrell
2003 Bright Young Things Lady Maitland
2005 Chromophobia Penelope Aylesbury
2006 Babel Lilly
2007 Atonement Emily Tallis
2009 Chéri La Loupiote
The Young Victoria Queen Adelaide
Morris: A Life with Bells On Professor Compton Chamberlayne
From Time to Time Lady Dresham
2012 A Royal Affair Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
The Wedding Video Alex
2014 Suite Française Viscountess de Montmort
2015 Man Up Fran
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Kalonia
2016 Denial Vera Reich
Mindhorn Agent
2017 The Sense of an Ending Margaret
2019 Rocketman Helena Piena
2020 Herself Peggy
2021 The Last Duel Nicole de Buchard
2022 Your Christmas or Mine? Iris
2022 Burial Anna Marshall


Year Title Role Notes
1979 Rebecca Clarice Episode #1.3
1980 The Imitation Game Cathy Raine Television film
1981 The Cherry Orchard Varya Television film
1984 Amy Amy Johnson Television film
1985 The Price Frances Carr 6 episodes
1986 Girls on Top R.S.C. Actress 3 Episode: "Mr. Yummy Brownie"
1987 A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery Harriet Vane Main cast, 10 episodes
1989 Theatre Night Sheila Episode: "Benefactors"
1991 Screen Two Amelia Cleverly Episode: "They Never Slept"
1991 The Men's Room Charity Walton Miniseries, 5 episodes
1991 Ashenden Giulia Lazzari Episode: "The Dark Woman"
1993 Inspector Morse Dr. Esther Martin Episode: "The Day of the Devil"
1993 Performance Mrs. Dorothy Maitland Episode: "The Maitlands"
1994 Hard Times Rachel 4 episodes
1997 A Dance to the Music of Time Mildred Episode: "The Thirties"
1998–1999 Unfinished Business Amy Main cast, 12 episodes
1999 Dalziel and Pascoe Mary Waddell Episode: "Time to Go"
1999 The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns Queen Morag Television film
2001 Waking the Dead Annie Keel Episode: "A Simple Sacrifice"
2003 My Uncle Silas Pamela Farrell Episode: "Shandy Lil"
2004 London Virginia Woolf 2 episodes
2004 Imagine Mother Episode: "The Smoking Diaries"
2004 Spooks Deep Throat Episode: "Who Guards the Guards?"
2005 New Tricks Madeline Episode: "Trust Me"
2005 Messiah Professor Robb 3 episodes
2005 Midsomer Murders Margaret Winstanley Episode: "Orchis Fatalis"
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple Duchess of Malfi Episode: "Sleeping Murder"
2006 Doctors Annie Fenton 4 episodes
2007 Trial & Retribution The Judge Episode: "Paradise Lost: Part 1"
2007 Five Days ACC Jennie Griffin 3 episodes
2007 Ballet Shoes Dr. Smith Television film
2008 The Palace Joanna Woodward Episode #1.1
2008 Fairy Tales Charlotte Brooks Episode: "Cinderella"
2008 10 Days to War Anne Campbell Episode: "Failure Is Not an Option"
2008 Agatha Christie's Poirot Miss Bulstrode Episode: "Cat Among the Pigeons"
2008 Little Dorrit Mrs. Gowan Miniseries, 4 episodes
2009 Hunter ACC Jenny Griffin Miniseries, 2 episodes
2009 A Short Stay in Switzerland Clare Television film
2009–2014 Law & Order: UK Natalie Chandler Main cast, 40 episodes
2013–2015 Downton Abbey Lady Shackleton Recurring role, 4 episodes
2013 Midsomer Murders Diana Davenport Episode: "Death and the Divas"
2013 Heading Out Angela 2 episodes
2013 By Any Means Sally Walker Episode #1.4
2014 The Assets Jeanne Vertefeuille Miniseries, 8 episodes
2015 London Spy Claire Miniseries, 3 episodes
2016 The Crown Clementine Churchill Recurring role, 6 episodes
2017 Call the Midwife Sister Ursula 3 episodes
2017 Black Sails Marion Guthrie 3 episodes
2018 Patrick Melrose Princess Margaret Episode: "Some Hope"
2018 Flowers Hylda Main cast, 5 episodes
2018 Black Earth Rising Eve Ashby 2 episodes
2018 My Dinner with Hervé Baskin Television film
2018–2023 Succession Lady Caroline Collingwood 7 episodes
2019 Curfew Helen Newman 4 episodes
2019 The Spanish Princess Lady Margaret Beaufort Miniseries, 8 episodes
2020 The End Edie 10 episodes
2020 Belgravia Caroline, Countess of Brockenhurst 6 episodes
2020 Killing Eve Dasha 7 episodes
2020 Talking Heads Muriel Episode: "Soldiering On"
2021 Doctor Who Prime Minister Jo Patterson Episode: "Revolution of the Daleks"
2021–2023 Ted Lasso Deborah 4 episodes
2022 Documentary Now! Edwina Episode: "Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport"
2022 This Is Going to Hurt Veronique Recurring character[11]
2023 Silo Martha Walker Main cast[12]
2023 The Cleaner Lisa Episode: "The Transaction"


notable performances



She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours[17][4] and promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to drama.[18]

In 2001 she and Kenneth Branagh were both given honorary doctorates and honorary fellowships at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford.

Her performance in Mary Stuart at the Donmar Warehouse transferred to Broadway, where it was nominated for numerous Tony Awards, including Best Actress nods for her and her co-star Janet McTeer.[19]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1988 Laurence Olivier Best Actress in a Revival A Question of Geography / Twelfth Night / Three Sisters Won
1994 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Three Birds Alighting on a Field Nominated
2001 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Life x 3 Nominated
2005 Evening Standard Award Best Actress Mary Stuart Won
2006 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Nominated
2009 Tony Award Best Actress in a Play Nominated
2014 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Julius Caesar Nominated
2016 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series The Crown Nominated
2020 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Succession Nominated
2022 Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Ted Lasso Nominated
2023 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Succession Pending
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Ted Lasso Pending



  1. ^ Fox, Chloe (3 February 2007). "The world of Harriet Walter, actress". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 24 April 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  2. ^ "News: Stationers celebrate Times links". InPublishing. 8 April 2011. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  3. ^ Edemariam, Aida (15 January 2011). "Life's looking up, Dame Harriet". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ a b c "Walter, Harriet Mary". Who's Who. Oxford, England: A & C Black. 1995.
  5. ^ ""A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery" Strong Poison: Episode One (TV Episode 1987) – IMDb". IMDb. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  6. ^ Petski, Denise (19 August 2019). "'Killing Eve': Harriet Walter & Danny Sapani Join Cast As Production Begins on Season 3". Deadline. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  7. ^ Weiss, Josh (19 April 2020). "Who Is Dasha? Dame Harriet Walter Breaks Down Her New 'Killing Eve' Character And That Wedding Crash". Forbes. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Shakespeare Schools Foundation Patrons". Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  9. ^ Shorter, Eric (6 August 2004). "Obituary: Peter Blythe". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 17 December 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  10. ^ Culture (11 May 2011). "Harriet Walter: 'Why I am getting married at 60'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  11. ^ Kanter, Jake (24 June 2021). "'This Is Going To Hurt': Harriet Walter, Alex Jennings Join BBC/AMC Series; First Look at Lead Ben Whishaw". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  12. ^ ‘Wool’: Harriet Walter, Avi Nash & Chinaza Uche Join Apple’s Dystopian Drama As Series Regulars
  13. ^ "Olivier Winners 1988". The Official London Theatre Guide. 24 April 2008. Archived from the original on 4 May 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  14. ^ "BBC News report on critical reception". 5 December 2012. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  15. ^ Brantley, Ben (18 January 2017). "Review: In 'The Tempest,' Liberation and Exhilaration". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Scenes of Seduction · British Universities Film & Video Council". Bufvc.ac.uk. 7 March 2005. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  17. ^ "No. 55710". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1999. p. 11.
  18. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 6.
  19. ^ "Billy Elliot musical dominates Broadway's Tony award shortlist". The Guardian. London. 5 May 2009. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2010.