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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 13:12 GMT
David Jason collects knighthood
Sir David Jason and his partner Gill Hinchcliffe

Actor Sir David Jason has collected his knighthood from the Queen in a Buckingham Palace ceremony.

The Queen made reference to his Only Fools and Horses character Del Boy as she presented him with his accolade.

"She said she hoped I wasn't always going to play the same character," Sir David said. "I was surprised that she watched it."

It was later revealed the 65-year-old has married long-term partner Gill Hinchcliffe in a secret ceremony.

The couple, who have a four-year-old daughter Sophie Mae, wed in front of 12 family and friends at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Wednesday.

"Some of the guests didn't even know. It was a very low-key surprise," the actor's new wife said as she posed for photographs with Jason outside Buckingham Palace.

'Good gear'

The actor is well-known for roles in comedy Open All Hours, detective drama A Touch of Frost and The Darling Buds of May.

"The Queen said 'you've been in the business a long time,'" Sir David said.

"I said I hope I hadn't offended her at any time and she said she didn't think so."

His character Del Boy would have reacted to the event with his usual Cockney charm, Sir David said.

"He would have said 'stone me Rodders, we'll have to come back tonight, she's got some good gear here.'"

Sir David Jason in Only Fools and Horses
Sir David first played Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in 1981
The actor said he was "humbled" by the "fantastic tribute" when his knighthood was first announced in June.

"I hope it means I have not got to retire," he said on Thursday. "I suppose this is the final award you get."

But he added: "I shall act until I drop. I just want to keep doing it and making it fun."

Born in Edmonton, north London, Sir David - whose real name is David White - had a number of careers including a spell as a self-employed electrician before he became a theatre actor.

His big break came in 1976 when he starred in BBC sitcom Open All Hours alongside Ronnie Barker.

Five years later he was cast as Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in Only Fools and Horses, which went on to become the most popular comedy show of its time.

He has won a clutch of awards including a Bafta fellowship in 2003.

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