Dame Judi Dench Gets Her First Tattoo, Inked For Her 81st Birthday

Judi Dench may have just turned 81, but the actress and all-round British national treasure is as cool as ever and just got her first tattoo, according to Mirror.

Dench, who starred as M in many Bond movies including the most recent Skyfall, has now got the words “carpe diem,” which is her motto, tattooed on her right wrist forever, according to the BBC.


Carpe diem means “seize the day” in Latin, and Judi Dench has the tattoo in black capital letters as a reminder to seize everyday.

“That’s my motto: Seize the day. Finty gave it to me for my 81st birthday – she’s wonderful with surprises,” Dench said.

Dench said she has always been keen on getting a tattoo for her birthday and so has her daughter Finty Williams.

Although the tattoo was a surprise gift, Judi Dench has been wanting to get inked for a while. Last year on her 80th birthday, Dench almost got an Indian symbol tattooed on her.

“There’s an Indian symbol that I like, which supposedly represents life and love and everything.

“One of the cameramen who worked on The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel told me what it meant, but I’m a bit nervous in case I’m being set up… It might be unbelievably rude!”


Dame Dench did back out of her first symbol tattoo at the age of 80 for fear that she would get something rude on her, but she herself is no stranger to practical jokes.

Previously, Judi Dench tricked the movie producer Harvey Weinstein into believing that she had his name tattooed across her derrière as a thank you for casting her as Queen Victoria in the film Mrs Brown.

“I once said to him, ‘I have your named tattooed on my bum.’ He laughed and was, well, quite embarrassed, actually. It’s quite difficult to embarrass Harvey, but I did!”

Dench did not stop there; she went one step further with her practical joke and flashed him the “tattoo” during a lunch with him.

“Beforehand, I got my makeup lady to actually write Harvey’s name [on my body]. Then I brought it up at lunch and said, ‘You know, I do have it on my bum’ – and then I actually got up and showed him! I’ve never seen a man more embarrassed and I’ve never let him forget it.”

Judi Dench was careful with the spelling of her carpe diem tattoo to ensure she did not end up on a long list of people with misspelled tattoos. Her new ink is translated to “seize the day,” but she still copped slack from her fellow actors in A Winter’s Tale, she said.

“Mind you, the company of A Winter’s Tale, which I was doing at the time, used to say that it said ‘fish of the day’.”

Dame Judi Dench first confessed to her new tattoo in an interview with Surrey Life, and her ink was first snapped as she greeted the Earl of Wessex at the Prince’s Trust gala at Stoke House in Buckinghamshire.


Judi Dench has not just turned to ink to ward off old age, but she is also receiving treatment every six weeks for macular degeneration. She explained,

“I just want to go on being mobile really and able to do things. I’m not going to be beaten by my eyes for instance.

“I have macular degeneration, which means treatment every six weeks, but you just have to settle for it.

“On my scripts, my font is point-size 22, so you can imagine…if we’re doing a sonnet of 14 lines, all the others will have one page and I’ll have 14.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s a farce, but I’m not going to give in.”

Dench said she also aims to learn at least one new fact every day to keep her brain sharp.

[Photo by John Stillwell/Getty Images]