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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 10:00 GMT
Wilkinson receives MBE
Jonny Wilkinson
England Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson has been presented with an MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The 24-year-old has been a national hero since his last-minute drop goal clinched the World Cup for England.

Wilkinson wore top hat and tails at the Palace and was accompanied by his parents and girlfriend Diana Stewart.

He said: "This is a massive honour for me and it might take as long to sink in as our win in the World Cup. It has come as a huge surprise."

"I have just always wanted to be a rugby player and never expected to be here."

This was the second time Wilkinson had met the Queen in three days.

England's World Cup winning squad attended a reception at Buckingham Palace on Monday following a victory parade through London's West End that attracted 750,000 fans.

"When the Queen gave me my MBE, she said how much she had enjoyed Monday's reception," Wilkinson said.

"I told her that all the players were still talking about it. To be here twice in a week is just a fantastic honour. It's something I am never going to forget."

Wilkinson was involved in a car crash just hours after England's victory parade on Monday.

The fly-half was unhurt in the accident, which happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning as he returned home to Newcastle.

"It has been lovely having so many well-wishers," Wilkinson said.

"But it was really a tiny thing - we just pulled off the road and just needed a bit of a ditch to stop the car."

Wilkinson's MBE was revealed in the 2003 New Year list, months before England's World Cup win in Australia.

Jonny Wilkinson
"It's a massive honour for me"

England rally round Wilkinson
30 Nov 03  |  England

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