She wouldn’t have tolerated the same type of behavior from James Bond, so the news Dame Judi Dench was late for her lunch meeting with the head of MI6 is nothing short of shocking.

The actress played the agency’s fictional chief M in seven James Bond movies and was famous for her no-nonsense attitude and heavy-handed treatment of the spy.

But when she was invited to MI6’s London headquarters to meet her real-life counterpart Sir David Spedding – she was 45 minutes late! However it wasn’t the Dame’s fault.

She revealed the agency would not let her use her own driver but insisted on sending their own to ensure she would arrive on time.

"I did get to go to MI6 once – I was invited to lunch by Sir David Spedding,” she said in an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

"They asked me for 12.30 for 1 and I said, ‘Yes, my driver …’ and they said ‘No, no, not your driver – our driver.’

“I said, ‘But Brian has driven me for years.’

“They said, ‘No, no he won't know the way'. I said, ‘To the Lego building on the South Bank? He can't miss it.’

“But they did send their driver – he couldn't find me. So subsequently I was three-quarters of an hour late. I was so late for lunch – embarrassingly late.”

Dench, who bowed out of the James Bond franchise after last year’s Skyfall, is currently enjoying critical acclaim for her role in Philomena – a true story about an Irish nurse’s decades-long search for the son she was forced to give up while being kept in near-slavery by nuns.

The movie has received three Golden Globe nominations and is expected to enjoy similar success at the Oscars.