Chris Kamara, one of football’s most popular figures, described receiving his MBE from the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle as “unbelievable”.
The 65-year-old, known for his catchphrase “unbelievable Jeff”, was honoured for services to Association Football, to anti-racism and to charity.
Football stars James Milner, the Liverpool veteran, and Sophie Ingle, captain of the Wales women’s football team, also received gongs at the investiture.
He said he was “so pleased” to have met William for the first time, revealing that the royal had written to him after he was named in the New Year’s Honours List.
Reflecting on the day, he told the PA news agency: “Amazing, what a family occasion it has been to take my wife and my sons Ben and Jack to Windsor Castle to see my investiture.
“I got a letter from the prince to say congratulations and I just thanked him for that letter and he said it’s well-deserved and long overdue, so coming from His Royal Highness, that’s amazing.
“We chatted football, of course, we chatted about that letter and he asked how I was, which was overwhelming that Prince William is asking me how I am.”
On meeting William, he added: “It was unbelievable.”
He said the public support he had received was “amazing” and “humbling”.
Former England player Milner, who also played for Aston Villa and Man City, was made an MBE for services to Association Football and to charity.
He told PA it was “a bit nerve-racking” to get the gong from William, but added: “He’s obviously a Villa fan so we talked about Villa and what a good club it was and how much I enjoyed my time there and just about football in general really, yeah.”
Responding to speculation he could one day become a coach, the 37-year-old added: “Yeah, I mean I’m doing my badges currently so it’s something you’re exploring but you never know what’s going to happen in the future and how you might feel and some days it’s fantastic and you see managers incoming and they get new contracts and then three months later they get sacked because of poor results, so it’s a pretty ruthless business to go into.
“So I do feel it would be a shame to walk away from football with the amount of knowledge I’ve been lucky enough to accumulate. I’ve been very fortunate to work at some amazing football clubs with some amazing players and managers and coaches and I’ve learnt a lot, so it would be a shame to walk away from that and not give that knowledge to the younger generation.”
Ingle was made an OBE for services to Association Football.
She said the Lionesses winning Euro 2022 had also been a big boost for the women’s game in Wales.
She said: “I think since the Euros in England last year, the amount of people that are now playing football in Wales alone from that summer, the statistics have gone up so high and that’s great because it is visible now and England winning obviously helped. It’s a home nation and I think it boosted us back home in Wales as well.”