Judi Dench looks in the mirror all the time after finding out about her hidden heritage

Dame Judi Dench says she 'enjoys swimming naked'

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Dame Judi Dench, 86, is set to appear on the hugely-popular genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are this weekend, and it’s safe to say she was more than surprised by what the team found out. Not knowing much about her mother’s side of the family, the actress was “very interested” to find out more and now can’t stop looking at herself in the mirror.

I look in the mirror all the time now and think ‘Aw Scandinavia!’

Judi Dench

In a new interview with BBC ahead of her episode, Judi already knew she her family crest was a unicorn head but was keen find out whether it had a motto below it.

She even found out that her maternal ancestors were connected to royalty, as lady in waiting in the Danish court.

“I had no idea about any of that,” Judi giggled.

“Or even that we had any Danish connections but this I have found out is my Mother’s family and now of course I want to explore it further.

“And now I believe there are Swedish connections too, this may well prompt a visit there as well!”

She added, beaming: “I look in the mirror all the time now and think ‘Aw Scandinavia!'”

On her father’s side, Judi learnt more about his wartime history and was left feeling “deeply moved” after seeing photographs.

“I had known, of course, about his Military Cross and bar but being told the details and actually seeing a photograph of where it had happened was deeply moving for me,” she said.

“Of course, when you find out things like this you just wish they were still about and could add their own reminisces.

“My father, like so many men who survived the 14-18 war and the Second World War, rarely spoke about it.”

She added: “He and my mother were incredible parents.

“Both had great senses of humour and always encouraged my brothers and me in whatever we wanted to do.”

She smiled as she remembered her childhood: “There has always been a great deal of laughter in our family.”

Despite all she had learnt, the actress admitted she was a little sceptical about going on the show beforehand.

The documentary series, which has been running for 17 seasons, unearths family secrets and forgotten stories, sometimes confirming the featured celebrity’s previous ideas but often completely subverting their expectations as tales of bravery, charity, loss and heartbreak.

“I am sure that investigating anyone’s past would have parts that could surprise or even shock you,” Judi said.

“The work that researchers do is so thorough that there are bound to be some surprises to be found.

“Naturally, I was concerned about the possibility of what I might be told.”

Dame Judi’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? airs on Tuesday 19th October on BBC One.

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