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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 14:25 GMT
World War II heroine is honoured
Nancy Wake is introduced to Prince Charles
Nancy met Prince Charles at the Charlotte Gray premiere
One of the most highly decorated Allied secret agents has been awarded Australia's highest civilian honour.

Nancy Wake, 91, who lives in Richmond, London, will be appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Living in Paris when World War II broke out, she joined the French Resistance and helped hundreds of people escape.

Australia's Governor-General Michael Jeffery said the award recognised Mrs Wake's "significant contribution and commitment" during her wartime efforts.

Working as a journalist in Europe, she interviewed Adolf Hitler in Vienna in 1933 and then vowed to fight against his persecution of Jews.

Mrs Wake, who was born in New Zealand but lived in Australia, is credited with saving hundreds of Allied lives after joining the resistance between 1940 and 1942.

White Mouse

The Gestapo named her the "White Mouse" because she was so elusive while helping Allied troops flee France.

Her exploits made her Australia's most decorated servicewoman, and one of the most decorated Allied servicewomen of World War II.

Mrs Wake left Australia in 2001 after a series of battles with the government over veterans' rights.

She sold her war medals to pay for a top hotel in Piccadilly, London, and Prince Charles reportedly helped pay her bills after the money ran out.

She now lives in the Star and Garter home for retired forces personnel in Richmond.

She met Prince Charles in 2002 at the film premiere of war drama Charlotte Gray which she had helped to inspire.

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