Winslet 'surprised but proud' of CBE

Kate Winslet Photo: PA

Oscar-winning star Kate Winslet said she was surprised, but deeply proud, to be awarded a CBE. The Titanic actress, from Reading, who has been one of Britain's most consistently successful screen stars, has been recognised for her services to drama.

Winslet, 36, said: "I am both surprised and honoured to stand alongside so many men and woman who have achieved great things for our country.

"And I feel deeply proud to receive this, as a part of an ever-expanding community of British actors and film makers who are fortunate enough to be able to contribute to an international industry.

"This makes me very proud to be a Brit."

Winslet fell in love with acting from an early age and drama was in her blood. Both her parents were "jobbing actors", and her grandparents ran a theatre in her home town of Reading.

Kate Winslet Credit: PA

As a youngster her aspirations were apparent and she later admitted to rehearsing her Oscar acceptance speech as a child.

The 11-year-old Winslet starred opposite the Honey Monster in a breakfast cereal advertisement and then went on to drama school.

She got her big break when she was cast, aged 17, as an obsessive teenager in Heavenly Creatures. A year later, her performance in the period drama Sense And Sensibility was rewarded with both a British Academy Award and an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

But it was her role in the blockbuster Titanic alongside teen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio which propelled her to stardom. Winslet landed a longed-for best actress Oscar for her performance in The Reader - after being nominated for an Academy Award five times previously without success.

Last year she famously carried Sir Richard Branson's mother to safety following a fire on his private island Necker. And she has since gone on to date the tycoon's nephew, Ned Rocknroll.

She has also set up a charity, the Golden Hat Foundation, for autistic youngsters and published a book of celebrity self-portraits to raise funds.