- Her grandfather was a Tsarist (White Russian) aristocrat who was in London negotiating an arms deal for the Russo-Japanese war when the 1917 Russian Revolution stranded him there. His wife and son (Helen's father) joined him in London.
- Has lived with director Taylor Hackford in Los Angeles since 1986.
- Used to work in Southend on Sea; Essex; UK at an amusement park "The Kursaal" as a "blagger" to attract customers on to rides.
- Made a DBE (Dame of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours, June 2003.
- John Boorman said he cast her opposite Nicol Williamson in Excalibur (1981), against both of their protests, because he felt their dislike of each other made them perfect as rivals Morgana and Merlin.
- Measurements: 36C-25-36 (starlet days), 38C-26-37 (on "Prime Suspect"-1996), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
- She allegedly refused the C.B.E. (Commander of order of the British Empire) in 1996.
- She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Actress in her performance of Orpheus Descending at the Donmar Warehouse.
- She was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress of 2003 for her performance in Mourning Becomes Electra at the Royal National Theatre: Lyttelton Stage.
- Became an Associate Member of RADA.
- Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actress (Play): in 1995 for ' Ivan Turgenev' 's "A Month in the Country," and in 2002 for August Strindberg's "Dance of Death."
- Despite her Russian birth name and ancestry, she is not fluent in Russian.
- Her great-great-great-great-grandfather was field-marshal Kamensky, one of the Russian heroes of the Napoleonic wars.
- She is the only actress to play both Queen Elizabeth I (in Elizabeth I (2005) (TV)) and Queen Elizabeth II (The Queen (2006)).
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