Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes has said she does not understand why gay people “are so anxious to get married”.

The Jewish actress and fierce critic of the Israeli government, 75, who is openly gay herself has been with her partner, Heather, for 48 years.

She told The Observer magazine: “We’ve had a civil partnership, but the thought of referring to one another as “wife” makes me feel sick.

“I don’t understand why gay people are so anxious to get married.”

The outspoken actress, who played Professor Pomona Sprout in the Harry Potter films, praised its creator JK Rowling, describing her as a “fabulous woman”.

“And I just love the fact that the richest woman in Britain is a writer – what a brilliant state of affairs. But Harry Potter didn’t make me rich, I was pleasantly paid, and it was just extraordinary to be a part of something that will mean generations of children know who I am,” she said.

The Oxford-born actress said that while she supports a lot of children’s charities, she cannot “bear children”.

She said: “I support children’s charities, I just don’t want them around me. It’s not very admirable, but it’s the truth.”