Award-winning stage and screen actress Miriam Margolyes revealed that she believes coming out as a lesbian caused her mother’s death.

Speaking on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday, Ms Margolyes said:

“I really came to terms with things in 1967. I was in my late twenties.

“When I told my mother that I had had an affair with a woman, she had a stroke about three days later.

“I was very shocked by what happened, which started the long period of her terrible illness and the blackest time of my life.

“I realised that telling people things that they can’t deal with is an indulgence.

“It caused the person I loved most in the world a pain she could not bear, and I have to take the responsibility for that.

“I should have been aware that that was something I could not say.”

The actress went on to express her sadness that her mother did not live to see the highs of her career, saying: “That is so sad. It hurts me.”

Ms Margolyes began her career making pornographic audio tapes.

During her long career in theatre, radio, television and film, she has starred in such films as Yentl, Little Shop of Horrors, I Love You To Death, End of Days, Magnolia and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

In television, Ms Margolyes is best known for her roles in Vanity Fair, Blackadder, and Life and Loves of a She Devil.

Her voice work is critically acclaimed and was most memorably the voice behind the Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny.

In 2002, the actress was awarded an OBE for services to drama.