Born in Marylebone, London, England, she is the daughter of director Tony Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave, granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave, niece of Lynn Redgrave, and sister of Natasha Richardson. However the genes were slow - as a child she saw her older ...
She acted in Louise Page's play, "Beauty and the Beast," at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with Jack Klaff, Marty Cruickshank, Natasha Perry, Souad Faress, Philip Bretherton, Jack Ellis, and Veronica Quilligan in the cast.
I'd love to adopt, but having a daughter, Daisy, who's in the middle of her teens, I'm now thinking: Is this a time to start all over again or is this a time to realise those child-rearing years are over?
During the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1986 season, she played Helena in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1986), a witch in "Mac Beth" (1986), Brigit in Ben Johnson's "Every Man in His Humour" (1986), Alicia in "Worlds Apart" (1986).
Joely appeared as an extra at the age of three in the 1968 version of The Charge of the Light Brigade, directed by her father.
After a leading role in Peter Greenaway's cult success Drowning by Numbers (1988), her first major role in front of a mass audience was as Joanna Farley in a 1989 television episode of Poirot, based on Agatha Christie's detective series.
She has played the wife of two former English kings; Wallis Simpson (Wallis & Edward, 2005), wife of the abdicated Edward, Duke of Windsor, and Henry VIII's final consort Catherine Parr in The Tudors (2010).
Both she and her mother Vanessa Redgrave have played an historical queen who was executed by beheading.
Actress Natasha Richardson (1963–2009) was her sister, and through her, she is the sister-in-law of actor Liam Neeson, and the aunt of Micheál and Daniel Neeson.
She is the niece of actors Lynn Redgrave and Corin Redgrave and cousin of actress Jemma Redgrave, who is five days younger than Richardson.