The Duke of Cambridge has presented Deborah James with her Damehood at her family home.
Downing Street confirmed last night the granting of the honour in a press release, which said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.”
Deborah has raised more than £4 million since Monday, when she launched a fund after announcing she had stopped treatment and is receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer.
In an Instagram post, Deborah said: “I am utterly honoured that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne, where he not only spent a generous amount of time talking to my whole family bit also honoured me with my Damehood.”
She continued: “It’s quite surreal having a Royal pop in at home, and yes you can image the cleaning antics and preparation went off the scale – but it was all irrelevant because William was so kind and he put us all at ease.
“He is clearly passionate about improving oncology outcomes as the President of the Royal Marsden. It was such a special day for my whole family, making memories to last a life time. He’s welcome back any time!”
Usually, Damehoods and Knighthoods are announced as part of the New Year Honours or The Queen’s Birthday Honours. However, there are exceptional circumstances, some are announced at other times of the year, such as Captain Sir Tom Moore’s knighthood.
A Damehood is one of the highest ranking honours, awarded for a pre-eminent contribution in any field, usually at a national level. Deborah has presented the ‘You, Me and the Big C’ podcast for five years, discussing the issue of cancer frankly.
On Wednesday evening, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed their support for Deborah in a social media post: “Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society. @bowelbabe is one of those special people.
“Her tireless efforts to raise awareness of bowel cancer & end the stigma of treatment are inspiring. We are so sad to hear of her recent update but pleased to support the @bowelbabef, which will benefit the @royalmarsdenNHS among others.”
The couple concluded: “Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer.”