Prince William presented Deborah James with her Damehood in a garden ceremony at her home.
The 40-year-old presenter revealed earlier this week she had moved to end-of-life care after battling bowel cancer since 2016, and in recognition of her fundraising efforts and campaigning to raise awareness of the disease, she was awarded a Damehood from Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen’s grandson Prince William, 39, made a special trip to Deborah’s home on Friday (13.05.22), where he presented her with the Damehood and enjoyed tea and champagne with the campaigner and her family.
Dame Deborah shared some pictures on Instagram and wrote: “Prince William actually came to our family house today!! I am utterly honoured that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne, where he not only spent a generous amount of time talking to my whole family but also honoured me with my Damehood. It’s quite surreal having a royal pop in at home, and yes you can imagine the cleaning antics and preparation went off the scale – but it was all irrelevant because William was so kind and he put us all at ease. He is clearly passionate about improving oncology outcomes as the President of the Royal Marsden. It was such a special day for my whole family, making memories to last a life time. He’s welcome back any time!”
She also wrote on Twitter: “What a glorious afternoon to make memories for a lifetime! What an generous honour, to have William in my family home, with champange giving me a Damehood. Not sure life could get more surreal. But happy. @KensingtonRoyal you are welcome for tea at ours anytime! @BowelbabeF £5mil.”
Deborah – who has raised more than £5 million since announcing she was stopping treatment – previously revealed her shock at the Damehood.
She wrote on Instagram: “OMFG, this is crazy. I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured.
“I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.”
Damehoods and knighthoods are typically only announced as part of the New Year or Queen’s Birthday Honours, but can be given out at different times in exceptional circumstances.
Downing Street confirmed: “The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it. Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.
“Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone.”