From my father's story, and if we take into account the fact that Saint Tropes wasn't in those days the fashionable place it is today, then that would almost certainly turn my mother into one of the first women in history to go topless...!
The only thing I remember about my birth was that for years I embarrassed my parents by telling my friends that I was born the day after their wedding. I obviously forgot to add that a year had elapsed between their wedding and my birth, which fell on February I5. 1951. I was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, where my father worked as a gynecologist in the same hospital which he had helped to build and run.
Anyone would have thought that since my father was a gynecologist, he would have helped in my mother's delivery, but this wasn't the case. He was far too busy that day helping other mothers have their babies to be present during the birth of his first daughter, named Joyce Frankenberg.
The Jane Seymour bit comes later, much later.
My mother was 36 years old when she had me. It was not normal in those days to have your first baby when you were almost hitting forty. But this didn't matter to my mother. Sometimes when she tells us stories about her past, about the three distressing years she spent in the concentration camp, she adds, "And I believe that what gave me the strength to keep on going was my dream of having a family." She always wanted to have lots of children, a cosy home and a loving husband. And she made this dream come true the minute she met my father. In four years she had three daughters, Joyce, Sally and Anne.
Shortly after my birth we moved to Wimbledon where we lived for 13 years. Then we went back to the Hillingdon area.
When people ask me how my children feel about having a mother who is an actress, I always reply that for them it's normal to see me sometimes on the television or all dressed up for a premiere wearing diamonds (borrowed) and a marvellous top designer dress. This is just as normal for them as it was for me, at their age, to be surrounded by nurses, patients and blood. '
I remember that I spent three weeks in the hospital living with my mother when my sister Sally was born. And I used to play on the operating table. For me and my two sisters it was the most normal thing in the world.
What wasn't so normal, at least for England (I'm sorry to say) where homes are hardly ever open to strangers, was our lifestyle. I often wonder how my parents managed it. I know they weren't rich, but my sisters and I had a really privileged childhood. And the biggest privilege of all, was their love for us. My mother, perhaps partly because of her past experiences or partly because of her own temperament, decided that our rather small Victorian house would be open to all. And it was.
In order to help out financially, mother ran her own business at home. She also did this because she was the sort of person who couldn't just sit without doing anything. With the help of two secretaries installed in the living-room of the house and a telephone, she organized an import company that resembled a multi-national business.
She worked exclusively for the embassies in London and supplied them with all sorts of goods: wines, liqueurs, tobacco ... Everything! She had such powers of persuasion, that she once managed to sell caviar and vodka to the Russians! That's my mother for you.
The good thing about working at home, was that she could take care of her girls as well as be available to greet any guest that might drop by. I believe that my parents, after their war experiences, tried to give us everything they'd fought so hard for - namely stability, security, love and, of course, a sound education.