Dame Maggie Smith was given the accolade of best supporting actress in a drama at this year's Primetime Emmy Awards. However, she was unable to attend the event to pick up her trophy – a fact that did not go down too well with host Jimmy Kimmel.

"We have a new rule — you must be present to win," Kimmel said at the beginning of the ceremony, which took place on 18 September.

"If we call your name and you're not here to accept it, it goes to the next person. It's called the 'Maggie Smith' rule.

"When Maggie Smith hears she's nominated for an Emmy she has the same reaction when we get those 20% off Bed Bath & Beyond coupons — right in the garbage."

Later in the show, the three-time Emmy-winning actress was announced as the winner for her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. As she was not there to accept the trophy, Kimmel returned to the stage and grabbed it from presenters Minnie Driver and Michael Weatherly.

"No, no, I'm not mailing this to her," he said in mock anger. "Maggie, if you want this it will be in the lost and found."

Smith may have not been there to respond but she did so, the next day, via the Twitter account of Masterpiece PBS which airs the show in the US.

"I was very astonished and pleased to win the award. I feel the Emmys have been overly gracious to me. If Mr Kimmel could please direct me to the lost and found office I will try and be on the next flight," she said in response to his ribbing, ending her message with: "Love, Old Maggie."