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I'm proud to be British, says Victoria Beckham after receiving OBE from William

Fashion designer Victoria Beckham said she was "proud to be British" after receiving her OBE at Buckingham Palace.

The former pop star received her honour from the Duke of Cambridge in recognition of her 17-year career in the fashion industry that has seen her become one of the biggest names in the business.

She was accompanied to the palace by her parents and husband, David Beckham, who was granted the same title 13 years ago.

Earlier this year emails were leaked in which the former England football captain criticised the honours system and those on the honours committee.

Beckham wore a floor-length black dress and high purple heels and looked chirpy as she waited to go into the ceremony.

The 43-year-old said in a statement: "It was an absolute pleasure to be at Buckingham Palace today. I'm proud to be British, honoured and humbled to receive my OBE from the Duke of Cambridge.

"If you dream big and work hard you can accomplish great things.

"I'm so happy to share this very special occasion with my parents and husband; without their love and support, none of this would be possible."

Heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill was made a Dame during the ceremony, while Academy and Tony award-winning actor Mark Rylance was knighted for his services to theatre.

Now a dame commander, Dame Jessica retired from athletics in October after winning a silver medal in Rio to back up her Olympic gold from London 2012.

But she is in line to receive another gold medal at this year's World Championships in London after Russia's Tatyana Chernova was stripped of her 2011 world title for doping.

After receiving her honour at the palace, she said: "It's so special.

"Just to hear the national anthem in this kind of moment again is really special because I've so many amazing memories of standing on the podium and hearing it and to be here receiving a damehood, which I never imagined I would ever receive, is an incredible honour."

Dame Jessica, who is expecting her second child, was accompanied by her grandparents, mother Alison Powell and husband Andy Hill for the ceremony, but not two-year-old son Reggie.

Holding her blossoming bump, she said: "I've got my little baby here.

"Reggie's a bit too young to be in this environment, but it's nice to be able to look back on this and say that my next little one has experienced this in some way."

The 31-year-old may have hung up her running spikes but will still be at the World Championships this summer to watch - and promised there would be no twinges of jealousy or regret over not competing.

She said: "In all honesty, not at all. I'm really looking forward to actually being there and watching as a spectator and enjoying it from a different perspective.

"I've had more than I could ever imagine out of my career so I can't stand here receiving a damehood and wish for any more - it's been incredible."

But she did hint that she could be lending her expertise as a pundit during the competition, saying: "I will perhaps involved in some way. I want to stay involved in the Championships and the Olympics, so maybe in some way."

Her focus now firmly turned to family life, Dame Jessica is also promoting the VitalityMove running festival to inspire people to be active and healthy.

She said: "I think just events, support and obviously funding makes a huge difference to just help people take those little steps - people that haven't really thought about being active or running - and just giving them a bit of a platform to try and get a taste for it.

"For me, I'm in a very privileged position, having achieved what I've achieved, and hopefully I can just inspire people and encourage people that being sporty and healthy is a great way to go."

There was a touching moment when Joanna Worsley received from William an honour for her husband, polar explorer Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley, who died in January last year on a solo trek across Antarctica.

Mr Worsley had been raising money for the Endeavour Fund, set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, when he fell ill just 30 miles from his goal and died after being airlifted to hospital.

His wife received his Polar Medal, awarded by the Duke for his contribution to Arctic knowledge.

Artist Christopher Ofili was also honoured at the investiture ceremony, receiving a CBE for services to art.

In 1998, at the age of 30, he was the first black winner of the Turner prize, and he later caused uproar in some quarters with a painting of the Holy Virgin Mary that featured pieces of spherical elephant dung.

After more than a decade living in Trinidad he is back in the UK for the opening of an exhibition at the National Gallery next week, which will show The Caged Bird's Song, a huge watercolour tapestry inspired by his life in the Caribbean he spent two-and-a-half years making with Edinburgh's Dovecot Tapestry Studio.

Mr Ofili said receiving the CBE was "special" because of his parents' decision to move to England from Nigeria over 40 years ago.

He said: "We set up our life in England and it's so special to be recognised for what I do in England and Britain, and for my parents that they made a great choice and invested so much in me.

"It feels as though I have achieved a lot."

Among other famous faces receiving honours from the Duke were Para-equestrian Lee Pearson, who was knighted after winning his 11th gold medal at the Rio games, fellow rider Sophie Christiansen - made a CBE - and para-cyclist and swimmer Jody Cundy, who received an OBE.


From Belfast Telegraph