Smart in a morning suit, TV presenter and comedian Paul O'Grady collected his MBE from the Prince Of Wales this week. And true to form the Birkenhead-born comic couldn't help cracking a joke. "It's a long way from Lily Savage," he said, referring to his infamous drag alter-ego.
The comic rose to fame as peroxide-haired, sharp-tongued, bombshell Lily - graduating from the stand up circuit to TV, where he fronted several programmes as the character. He retired her in 2006, however, announcing she had run away to the continent.
Paul, who hosts an afternoon chat show on Channel 4, said he was "absolutely delighted" to be at Buckingham Palace this week. Although when he first received the letter informing him he'd been awarded the honour, the 53-year-old thought it was a joke played by one of his pals. "(The organisers) rang me up and said 'Are you coming or not?'," he remembers.
Sharing in the proud moment on Thursday were Paul's partner Andre Portasio, his daughter from a previous marriage Sharyn Mousley and sister Sheila Rudd.