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Dame Shirley Bassey, 87, has opened up about her meeting with King Charles when receiving her Companion of Honour in the New Year Honours list and claimed she was more nervous speaking to him than singing in front of him.

Bassey was first made a Dame in 1999 for her services to music, but only recently met King Charles, despite singing in front of him previously.

Speaking about receiving her award on Tuesday, Bassey noted: "I think it’s more nerve-racking to receive the award from him than to sing in front of him. I mean, it’s new, different, whereas singing I’ve been doing since I was a child.

"I forgot to curtsy, but that’s why I grabbed his hands because I forgot to curtsy. Instinctive," she said according to The Standard.

The Goldfinger singer noted how the King complimented her outfit, a sparkly black and white Isabell Kristensen dress and revealed: "I asked him how he was, and he said he was fine and said: ‘You look wonderful'.

"He wished me all the best and then I grabbed him – I know I shouldn’t have done that. But I grabbed both his hands and said 'I wish you well'."

Asked what it was like to be dubbed an icon, she expressed: "It can be very nice, and it can be very isolating and a nuisance – especially if you’re in a restaurant and people come and sit at your table uninvited."

After having 70 years worth of glamourous moments, she noted that the one which stands out for her the most was when she sang for the late Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.

"I think the first time I sang for the Queen at the Royal Variety – my very first show. And then I did quite a few after and was very blase about it."

England goalkeeper Mary Earps, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis and Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke were also among the stars of sport, stage and screen recognised in the New Year Honours list, while the Archbishop of Canterbury leads those rewarded for their work on the King’s Coronation.

Other notable names in the list included England cricketer Stuart Broad, who was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) following his retirement; singer Leona Lewis, who became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE); and author Kate Mosse, who is also made a CBE.

Earlier this year, Bassey auctioned off some of her jewels for charity, including a diamond ring given to her as a gift by Sir Elton John.

Speaking about her decision, she explained: "All the pieces are meaningful and have a story to tell, whether I bought them for myself or they were gifted to me.

"There is this beautiful 1960s vintage Van Cleef & Arpels ring covered in white diamonds that Elton John gave me after I sang at one of his Aids Gala evenings and which I've worn so many times."


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Bassey, whose rendition of the title track for Sean Connery's 1971 Bond outing remains one of her biggest hits, said she accepted the job thanks to her "lifelong passion" for the jewels.

The list included a diamond necklace, which was estimated to sell for between £232,420 and £275,460. There was also a yellow diamond ring which was said to fetch between £142,030 and £172,150.

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