Joan Collins, who is made a dame in the honours list, said the recognition for her decades of charity work was “humbling”.
The 81-year-old actress, a devoted monarchist, said she was “deeply honoured”.
She said: “It is humbling to receive this level of recognition from my Queen and country, and I am thrilled and truly grateful.”
The star has been a regular on stage and screen for more than half a century, but is probably best known for her portrayal of the bitchy Alexis in Dynasty.
The glamorous US soap opera, with its lavish costumes complete with startling shoulder pads and big bouffant hairstyles, ran for most of the 1980s and made Collins a star all over again.
While she had previously received an OBE, she told the BBC there was “nothing to compare with being a dame”.
“I’m ecstatic, I feel very teary actually. When I first heard I really could not quite believe it,” she said.
“I’m very pleased to be recognised for my charity and philanthropic work because I’m not a grandstander with it, it’s quite under the radar and it’s all mostly to do with children.
“There’s nothing to compare with being a dame, getting that kind of accolade from my country, from my Queen. I’m very patriotic and quite a royalist as well so it’s extraordinary.”
She was born to a showbusiness family - her mother was a dancer and her father an agent - in London and enjoyed early success in the British film industry before heading to Hollywood.
Collins has worked steadily for decades with occasional gaps for marriage - she is currently on her fifth husband - and bringing up her family.
Notable roles include featuring in two X-rated bonkbusters, The Stud and The Bitch, based on racy books by her sister Jackie.
Film appearances include a remake of The Big Sleep starring Robert Mitchum and she has featured in TV shows including Star Trek, The Man From U.N.C.L.E and more recently ITV sitcom Benidorm.
She also starred alongside Rising Damp actor Leonard Rossiter in a string of successful adverts for Cinzano which invariably ended up with the drink being spilled down her top.
Collins has used her fame to support a variety of good causes including the NSPCC and the Shooting Star Chase children’s hospice.