1. She is known for her portrayals of reticent women, often in period dramas and literary adaptations, and playing haughty or matronly characters with a sense of irony.
2. Born in London to English actor Eric Thompson and Scottish actress Phyllida Law, Thompson was educated at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, where she became a member of the Footlights troupe.
3. After appearing in several comedy programmes, she first came to prominence in 1987 in two BBC TV series, Tutti Frutti and Fortunes of War, winning the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her work in both.
4. Her first film role came in the 1989 romantic comedy The Tall Guy, and in the early 1990s she frequently collaborated with her then husband, actor and director Kenneth Branagh.
5. The pair became popular in the British media, and co-starred in several films including Dead Again .
6. In 1992, Thompson won multiple acting awards, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress, for her work in the period drama Howards End.
7. The following year she garnered dual Academy Award nominations for her roles in The Remains of the Day, as a stately housekeeper, and In the Name of the Father, as a lawyer.
8. Other notable film and television credits include the Harry Potter film series, Wit .
9. In 2013, she received acclaim and several award nominations for her portrayal of P. L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks.
10. Thompson is married to actor Greg Wise, with whom she lives in London and has one daughter and an adopted son.
11. She is an activist in the areas of human rights and environmentalism, and has received criticism for her outspoken nature.
12. She has also authored two books adapted from The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
13. She explained in an interview in 2007 how she discovered the book The Madwoman in the Attic, “which is about Victorian female writers and the disguises they took on in order to express what they wanted to express.