She remains one of Britain's biggest acting exports, having commanded the screen with a number of enigmatic roles during her three decades in the industry.

And Emma Thompson, 59, said she "sniggered" with the Duke of Cambridge when he presented her with her damehood at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, reports Daily Mail.

She said: "I love Prince William, I've known him since he was little, and we just sniggered at each other.

"I said, 'I can't kiss you, can I?' And he said, 'No don't'!

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"If you're first up you have to be more formal on such an occasion, but he's looking wonderful and doing so well. He said, 'This day isn't about me, it's about you'.

"It's really lovely because I've always loved the boys and I've always been a long-term correspondent with their dad, it's a very lovely feeling."

Dame Emma was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June for her services to drama.

She wore white trainers and a navy Stella McCartney suit to the ceremony, with the choice of designer a representation of British fashion, she said.

Emma Thompson stands outside Buckingham Palace, London, with her husband Greg Wise (left) and children Gaia Wise (right) and Tindy Agaba (centre). Photo / AP
Emma Thompson stands outside Buckingham Palace, London, with her husband Greg Wise (left) and children Gaia Wise (right) and Tindy Agaba (centre). Photo / AP

The Remains Of The Day and Nanny McPhee star said: "I'm very outspoken, politically, I'm a card-carrying feminist, human rights advocate, so good for them, because the establishment need more people who can speak up for those things."

Sporting a Fawcett Society Equal Pay badge, she said she hopes to use her damehood to bring attention to children going hungry in the school holidays, known as holiday hunger.

She said: "This is a very rich country with hundreds of thousands of children who don't get enough to eat.

"I'm sorry, but that's just rubbish. I'm going, why isn't this top of the list? We have kids begging in schools for leftover food, that's just awful."

The actress, who collected the accolade in recognition of her services to drama, was joined by her long-time husband Greg Wise and their two children; Gaia, 18, and son, Tindyebwa Agaba Wise, a Rwandan orphan they informally adopted in 2003 when he was 14, for the momentous occasion.

The Sense and Sensibility actress, 59, looked polished for the ceremony in a teal trouser suit, which boasted contrasting black lapels and a matching trouser lining. Emma put a more casual spin on the ensemble by swapping a shirt for a simple blue top and white trainers.

The actress' husband Greg appeared to be beaming with pride as he put an affectionate arm around his wife and their two children as they gathered on the steps of the palace for a family photo ahead of the honour.

Emma looked overjoyed as The Duke of Cambridge bestowed the honour upon her - though the formalities didn't deter the fun-loving star from cracking a joke or two as she laughed with the Royal while receiving her damehood.

Making light of the incredible merit during her appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers in September, Emma joked that she was only accepting the privilege because she wanted some new jewellery.

She quipped: "You can choose to say: 'Well, of course we don't have an empire anymore and thank God because it was [a] ghastly, colonial, racist, dreadful, undertaking on every level,' and actually have some moral principle about it...

"Or you can be like me and think, 'it's going to be a really nice badge.'

Emma is best known for movies Howards End, The Remains Of The Day, Love Actually, Harry Potter, and the Nanny McPhee films, which she also wrote.

Her professional breakthrough came in 1987 when she starred in Fortunes Of War and Tutti Frutti, the former opposite Kenneth Branagh, who would go on to become her first husband.

Throughout her career, the talented actress has won two Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and one Primetime Emmy Award.

One of her biggest commercial successes came in 2003 with Love Actually, in which she plays mother-of-two Karen, who suspects her husband of infidelity. Speaking previously, Emma admitted that, despite the movie possessing an ensemble cast, it is the role she is most often commended for.

Adored for her off-the-cuff charm, Emma earned even more fans when she walked on to the Golden Globes stage carrying her skyscraper Christian Louboutin heels and a martini in 2014. Referencing the shoe brand's famous red sole, she humourously declared: "I just want you to know that this red, is my blood."

Despite her celebrity status, the humble actress still lives on the road where she grew up in London with her husband Greg, whom she met while filming Sense And Sensibility - shortly after finalising her divorce from Kenneth Branagh. The couple tied the knot eight years later.