English cricketing legend Ian Botham was formally made a knight of the realm by Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday in a ceremony at her official Buckingham Palace residence in central London.
Botham, whose career has combined a rare talent on the cricket field with a flamboyant lifestyle off it, was rewarded for his services to sport and to charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June.
”The monarchy stands for everything that makes me proud to be English. I’m a massive royalist,” Botham said earlier this week, describing receiving the knighthood as ”the greatest day of my life”.
”I listen to all these republicans … If it was down to me I’d hang ’em! I honestly would. It’s a traitor’s game for me,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
The 51-year-old, who chatted briefly with the monarch after she bestowed the medal on him, admitted that his family and friends have already had fun with his new title of ”Sir”.
”They’re coming up with all kinds of names for me now and Sirloin of Beef was the first good one. I don’t mind,” he said.
Botham, who received an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1992 and is now a cricket commentator and pundit, is married to Kath, mother to his three children. — AFP