Royle Family actress Liz Smith dies aged 95

Liz Smith, famous for playing Norma - known affectionately as Nana - in the Royle Family, has died at the age of 95, a spokeswoman for her family has said.

She died on Christmas Eve, according to a statement by the spokeswoman released on Monday night.

Her death comes in the same year as her Royle Family co-star Caroline Aherne, who died in July.

Liz Smith was awarded with an MBE for services to drama in 2009. Credit: PA

Ralf Little, Smith's co-star from the popular TV show, tweeted "goodbye Nana", saying that he was devastated to have lost two members of his "second family" in one year.

Smith was known by her stage name, but born Betty Gleadle on 11 December 1921, recently celebrating her 95th birthday.

As well as her role in the Royale Family, Smith played the eccentric Mrs Cropley in the Vicar of Dibley alongside Dawn French.

She appeared alongside Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the 2005 film Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, playing the role of Grandma Georgina.

The Prince of Wales presented Smith with the MBE in 2009 Credit: PA

She also won a Bafta for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Maggie Smith's organ-playing mother in the film A Private Function.

In 2009, the Prince of Wales presented Smith with an MBE and told her that the sofa-bound characters of the Royale Family were "nothing like my family, thank God".

Smith retired from acting that year following a series of strokes.

Liz Smith with the cast of The Royle Family Credit: BBC/PA

In an inadvertent but fitting tribute to the actress, the episode of the Royale Family in which Nana dies - called The Queen of Sheba - was repeated on the BBC during Christmas week.

Andrew Whyment, who has starred in both Coronation Street and The Royle Family, tweeted: "What a fantastic actress she was absolutely hilarious RIP lovely Liz x"