Prince William presented Deborah James with her damehood in a garden ceremony at her home.
The 40-year-old presenter announced earlier this week that she had transitioned into end-of-life care after battling colon cancer since 2016, and in recognition of her fundraising efforts and campaigning to raise awareness of the disease, she was presented with a damehood by 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 activist and her family.
Dame Deborah shared some pictures on Instagram and wrote: “Prince William actually came to our family home today!! I am deeply honored that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne where he not only spent considerable time conversing with my family but also honored me with my damehood. It’s quite surreal to have a royal visit home and yes, you can imagine the cleaning antics and preparations got out of hand – but it was all irrelevant because William was kind enough and put us all in for President of the Royal Marsden. It was a very special day for my whole family to create memories that will last a lifetime. He’s always welcome back!”
She also wrote on Twitter: “What a glorious afternoon of making memories for life! What a gracious honor to have William at my family home, with champagne to give me a damehood. I’m not sure life could get any more surreal. But happy. @ KensingtonRoyal, you are always welcome to join us for tea! @BowelbabeF £5mil.”
Deborah, who has raised more than £5million 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 am overwhelmed and incredibly honored.
“I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means for my family, it’s so much to process.”
Damehoods and Knighthoods are normally only announced during the New Year’s or Queen’s Birthday Honors, but may exceptionally be awarded at other times.
Downing Street confirmed: “The Queen is delighted to approve the honor of the Damehood being bestowed on Deborah James.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “If ever an honor was well deserved, this is it. Deborah was an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage were a source of strength to so many people.
“Through her tireless campaign and by being so open in sharing her experiences, she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, but has also made sure countless others are not alone with the Big C.”