Dame Judi Dench covers the June 2020 issue of British Vogue Magazine photographed by Nick Knight and styled by Kate Phelan.
On top of the nationwide lockdown, she – by dint of her age, if not her moxie, and like some 10 million others in Britain – has embarked on an even longer stretch of imposed self-isolation: “I am sure I feel like everyone else, such unprecedented times are quite hard to comprehend,” she explains from her home, with its tree-filled gardens, where she has lived for more than 35 years. Her panic is for people who don’t have what she has. “What is a good thing is that it has made people aware of the predicament of others who are completely alone,” she says, thoughtfully. “If a great deal of kindness comes out of this, then that will be a plus.”
Dench – who had “Carpe diem” inscribed on her wrist (her first tattoo) on her 81st birthday – has been refreshingly open about her feelings towards ageing: “I don’t like it at all,” she tells Vogue features director Giles Hattersley in the June issue. “I don’t think about it. I don’t want to think about it. They say age is an attitude…it’s horrible.”
But how do you feel about retirement, I ask casually. Immediately, it is as if the sun has gone behind a cloud: “No, no, no, no. Don’t use that word, Giles. Not in this house. Not here. Wash your mouth out!” Her voice becomes its most electric to quote Dylan Thomas. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” she booms, with all the skill and force of her RSC days.
Cover: Dolce&Gabbana Trench Coat
Image: La Collection Dress | Armani Privé Coat
Hair by Sam McKnight
Makeup by Val Garland
[Photo Credit: Nick Knight/British Vogue Magazine]