Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Beckham visits the palace to receive OBE from queen

AP , LONDON

Royalty met royalty on Thursday when David Beckham, the king of English sporting icons, went to Buckingham Palace to collect an award from Queen Elizabeth II.

It was hard to tell who was the real royal -- Beckham said the queen told him the occasion was also an "honor" for her.

The England soccer captain and his pop star wife, "Posh Spice" Victoria, are the most famous celebrity couple in Britain. Their mansion outside London is known as "Beckingham Palace."

So it only seemed fitting for the Beckhams to get the genuine royal treatment as Beckham received his OBE _ -- Officer of the Order of the British Empire -- for services to the game.

Beckham bowed his head slightly before stepping forward to face the queen. She pinned the red-ribboned award on his left lapel and the two exchanged a few words and shook hands. Beckham then stepped backward and bowed his head again.

Beckham, with his blond hair tied back in a tight ponytail, was dressed in black top hat and tails. He wore diamond earrings, a gold watch chain on his gray waistcoat and designer black leather shoes.

"Amazing," he told reporters. "It's great to receive an honor for playing football, for something I love doing."

And what did the queen say to him?

"She said it's a great honor for her to be giving me the award," Beckham said.

The queen also asked how copes with traveling back and forth to play soccer.

"I said it's not a problem," Beckham said. "I said it's a great honor to be here with Her Majesty."

Beckham, 28, said the OBE ranked as "probably the best" award he has received in his career.

"It's an amazing day for me," he said.

Beckham won six Premier League championships, two FA Cups and one European Cup title with Manchester United. He transferred to Real Madrid last summer.

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