In 2009-10, Richardson appeared as Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII, in the fourth (and final) season of Showtime's hit period drama The Tudors.
The role reunited her with her ex-husband Tim Bevan, who was part of the show's production team.
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.
In a 1989 episode of Jim Henson's The Storyteller, she was cast as a princess.
Joely has recently joined the cast of TV series Titanic - Blood and Steel in which she will play the role of Countess Markievicz. Richardson had an affair with theatre producer Archie Stirling, resulting in the failure of Stirling's marriage to Diana Rigg in 1990.
Richardson is divorced from film producer Tim Bevan.
Richardson and her sister Natasha's early education began in London at the independent St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith.