Dame Helen Mirren tops inspirational women poll

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Dame Helen Mirren has topped a poll of inspirational women, beating both the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge.

A total of 51 per cent of Scottish women who were surveyed described Dame Helen, 67, – who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the monarch in The Queen – as inspiring.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling came second with 48 per cent, ahead of the Queen in third place with 37 per cent.

The research was carried out for the charity Oxfam to promote its Get Together fundraising campaign, which raises cash to help women living in poverty around the world. Another 
actress, Joanna Lumley – famous for roles in The New Avengers and Absolutely Fabulous – was fourth with 30 per cent.

Singers Annie Lennox and Adele tied for fifth, with each polling 29 per cent.

Olympic gold medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis was joint seventh along with Ellie Simmonds, who won gold in the pool at the Paralympics. Both sporting stars were regarded as inspirational by 28 per cent of Scottish women surveyed.

Businesswoman Karren Brady, the vice-chair of West Ham United Football Club and one of Lord Sugar’s advisers on the hit TV show The Apprentice, came ninth with 21 per cent.

The Duchess of Cambridge – who is pregnant with her first child – was tenth, with 20 per cent of women describing her as an inspiration.