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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 13:37 GMT
Ashes heroes get Palace Honours
Top: S Jones, Pietersen, Hoggard; Bottom: Vaughan with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh
England's Ashes winners attended a reception in their honour
England's Ashes stars received their Honours from the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

Michael Vaughan's men were given awards in recognition of last summer's surprise success over Australia.

England's 16-strong party met the Queen on Thursday morning before a lunchtime reception at the palace.

Vaughan got an OBE along with coach Duncan Fletcher, chairman of selectors David Graveney and manager Phil Neale, while the rest of the team got MBEs.

Vaughan described meeting the Queen with the team as "fantastic".

"She was saying she watched the series avidly - but not all the time, because it all got too tense for her and was a bit nerve-wracking," he said.

I didn't think I'd come anywhere near (the palace) besides taking photos outside the gates
Kevin Pietersen

Star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was able to have an informal chat with the Queen at the reception which followed the ceremony.

"We just had a chat - I told her I went to the races yesterday," he said.

"I didn't know what to expect beforehand - but this is a little bit of history."

The squad departs on Sunday for a tour of India, including three Tests against the side ranked one place below them at third in the world rankings.

Only Ashley Giles, among those present at the palace on Thursday, will not be involved - at least initially - over the next two months, because of a hip injury.

England's women's team was also at the reception following their own Ashes triumph in August.

Clare Connor, who led the side to their first Test series victory over Australia since 1963, collected an OBE.

South African-born batsman Kevin Pietersen, who qualified for England two years ago, was "humbled" at meeting the Queen.

"That summer was remarkable for not only the players but for the spectators watching," he said.

"I made a decision five or six years ago to come to this country to do something that I love and to fulfil my dream to play international sport.

He said of Buckingham Palace: "I didn't think I'd come anywhere near it besides taking photos outside the gates."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: England cricket captain Michael Vaughan


Interview: England's Andrew Flintoff


Interview: England women's cricket captain Clare Connor



SEE ALSO
English cricket's finest summer
22 Sep 05 |  Ashes 2005
England triumph in Women's Ashes
27 Aug 05 |  Women's cricket
England in India 2006
08 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates


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