Britain’s Zara Phillips kissed her grandmother Queen Elizabeth on both cheeks as she accepted her royal honour at London’s Buckingham Palace yesterday (28.11.07).

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The queen told her 26-year-old granddaughter, ‘You look lovely,’ after pinning the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal on Zara’s lapel.

Zara – dressed in a black double-breasted military frock coat with gold trim and buttons – is the first senior royal to receive such an honour and was presented the medal for her services to equestrianism.

The accomplished sportswoman won gold at the World Equestrian Games in Germany and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2006.

Zara’s mother Princess Anne, rugby star boyfriend, Mike Tindall, and brother Peter Phillips, who was accompanied by his fiancée, Autumn Kelly, all watched on proudly from the front row as the young royal collected her award.

Zara’s step-father, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, also received an honour at the palace yesterday, being made a Companion of the Order of the Bath’s Military Division.

Dorothy Petticrew – who collected her own MBE for services to community development in Northern Ireland – said Zara seemed relaxed and happy and eagerly chatted to her and the other honourees at the ceremony.

Petticrew said: ‘I asked her how did she feel and she said she was very happy.’

Actor Peter Sallis, who voices the plasticine character Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit animation series, Dad’s Army star Bill Pertwee, 81, and Inspector Wexford actor George Baker, also collected MBEs.

Sallis, 86, who is also famous for playing Norman Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine, said: ‘Wallace would have thought it was a cracking good show.’