In an eventful day for Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, he received an OBE at the first honour-giving ceremony presided over by the Duke of Cambridge – after starting the day off with an untimely random drugs test.
The British number one described to reporters how his “special day” was almost ruined when the team arrived at 8.20am requiring a urine sample – with a taxi to the palace booked for 8.30am.
Used to taking quick toilet breaks when required at the court, however, Murray made it to Buckingham Palace’s lavish ballroom with time to spare.
He arrived with girlfriend Kim Sears and parents Willie and Judy, and was even able to take a second and tweet about his morning’s activities before entering.
Onlookers described an apparently faultless performance from Prince William, entrusted for the first time to carry out the “investiture” ceremony. It was a milestone for the Duke on his way to a full-time job dealing with royal duties.
Speaking following the event, Murray said: “It's a great honour to be awarded something like this - it means a lot.”
He paid tribute to other recipients, which included an OBE to Vicar Of Dibley producer Jon Plowman and an MBE to presenter Aled Jones: “Speaking to some of the people and the stuff they've done it's pretty incredible, it was nice to come along and receive it today.
“I've wanted to do it sooner but because of all the travel and stuff I've always been away on the dates that we've been given.”
Once feared to be another nearly man of British tennis, Murray has fulfilled his talent in emphatic style in just over a year.
Murray has gone from one success to another since beating Roger Federer at the London Olympics last summer, a path which seemed to interest the Duke in their brief mid-ceremonial chat.
Murray said: “He just asked me about what it's been like after Wimbledon. I think he's a big sports fan, he was at the Olympics, he was seen everywhere and I've seen him a couple of times at Wimbledon, so today was nice and it was his first time as well, so a special, special day.”
The sportsman also revealed how he gently teased Prince William about his handwriting: “After Wimbledon his wife had written a letter to say congratulations and she had amazing handwriting, and I had a letter from Prince William before and his handwriting was not good.
“And I just said, ‘could you pass it on that her handwriting was fantastic and thank you very much for the letter’.”