Popular presenter Clare Balding was left by her own admission a gibbering wreck as the Princess Royal presented her with an OBE for a dazzling career in broadcasting.
An attack of nerves saw the normally calm and accomplished TV personality fluff her curtsey to Anne and almost trip up during the investiture ceremony staged at Windsor Castle.
Balding, 42, who was joined by her partner Alice Arnold at the Queen’s Berkshire home, said after the ceremony: “I got terribly nervous about this, I’ve been pretty busy then suddenly yesterday I thought ‘gosh I’d better make sure everything’s in order for tomorrow’.
“I’m still a bit shaky now, I talked absolute gibberish, absolute gibberish – I was just hopeless. Mucked my curtsey up, nearly fell over as I turned and walked away, messed up properly, but luckily not too many people had seen that.”
The versatile broadcaster, who was an amateur jockey, has presented horse racing on radio and television for more than 18 years, and also hosted Countryfile, Crufts and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Balding’s first book, My Animals and Other Family, published last year and based on her childhood growing up in an unusual household, won biography of the year at the National Book Awards.
The broadcaster’s family have a close association with the monarchy as her grandfather, father and brother Andrew have all trained racehorses for the Queen.
Balding was recognised for her part in the BBC’s coverage of the London Olympics and later the Paralympics on Channel 4.