AFTER 18 years organising the Royal Family’s visits to the county, a retired deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex has been elevated to an order of chivalry whose knights include the Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of York.

John Williams MBE has now been made a member of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour in the personal gift of the Queen.

Mr Williams, 72, said his letter – from the Palace not the Cabinet Office as for an MBE – was a “wonderful accolade.”

He said: “It’s been a wonderful journey and it’s been really nice to be rewarded and recognised for my work.

“I can’t even say it was down to my team because I was a one-man-band so I can take the credit.

“I must have organised over 100 royal visits to the county.”

His job included last-minute scrambles to arrange meeting parties for Commonwealth dignitaries arriving at Gatwick.

Mr Williams, who has met the Queen on four occasions in the course of his duties, described Her Majesty “a very easy woman to do business with”.