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Diversity's Ashley Banjo is awarded an MBE for his services to dance

Diversity’s Ashley Banjo is awarded an MBE for his services to dance after revealing he was ‘humbled and proud’ to receive the honour

Ashley Banjo has been awarded an MBE for his services to dance.

The Diversity star, 34, was honoured with the British Empire Medal by the Princess Royal during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

Ashley was named in the New Years Honours List ahead of the ceremony and said at the time he was ‘humbled and proud’ to be considered for the accolade.

Proud: Ashley Banjo has been awarded an MBE for his services to dance

He said: ‘I’m so humbled and extremely proud to be receiving this honour. ‘It’s something I never saw coming and for my mum and dad to see this moment means the world.’

Photographs from the ceremony show the moment Princess Anne pinned the medal to Ashley’s chest as he stepped up to receive the honour.

The TV personality, who was wearing a doubled breasted suit and tie, later posed proudly with medal in the grounds of the castle.

Honoured: The Diversity star, 34, was honoured with the British Empire Medal by the Princess Royal (pictured) during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday

Street dancer Ashley rose to fame following his dance troupe Diversity’s Britain’s Got Talent win in 2009 against Susan Boyle. 

Banjo has since appeared as presenter and judge on several prime-time television shows, including as a judge on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

Last year his group’s 2020 routine on Britain’s Got Talent about the events of that year won the Must-See Moment Award at the TV BAFTAs.

Delighted: Ashley was named in the New Years Honours List ahead of the ceremony and said at the time he was ‘humbled and proud’ to be considered for the accolade

The performance featured themes surrounding the pandemic and a depiction of  George Floyd’s death in police custody in the U.S. and the subsequent emphasis on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

After it aired, more than 24,000 viewers complained to Ofcom, but the watch dismissed the claims and found that the performance did not warrant an investigation.

Ashley previously said that he ‘hopes’  Diversity’s Black Lives Matter-inspired routine was part of why he was made an MBE.

He said: ‘I’m so humbled and extremely proud to be receiving this honour. ‘It’s something I never saw coming and for my mum and dad to see this moment means the world’

Appearing on The One Show in January, he said: ‘I was so proud to get it for services to dance. It is what I have dedicated my life to, it is what I love to do.

‘I think the routine we did did have something to do with it, because at the end of the day it was using dance like we always have done, to not just tell a narrative but to put a message across – to educate, to inspire.

‘So that is something that is really important to me. Dance isn’t just for entertainment. It isn’t just for backing recording artists.

Congratulations: Photographs from the ceremony show the moment Princess Anne pinned the medal to Ashley’s chest as he stepped up to receive the honour

‘It can be used for anything. It is a form of communication, it is a form of art. I hope it had something to do with it because I am really proud of that dance.’

Ashley’s first experience with dance was when he formed the Swift Moves dance troupe with his younger brother Jordan.

They later changed the name to what it is known as now, Diversity. 

Fame: Street dancer Ashley rose to fame following his dance troupe Diversity’s Britain’s Got Talent win in 2009 against Susan Boyle

Also in attendance at the ceremony was Daniel Craig, who was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George on Tuesday – the same honour held by his iconic big screen character James Bond.

The actor, 54, received the honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film and theatre.

The Royal Family’s official Twitter account shared a photo of Daniel receiving his honour, alongside the famous Bond movie line: ‘We’ve been expecting you.’ 

Investiture: Also in attendance at the ceremony was Daniel Craig, who was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George on Tuesday – the same honour held by his iconic big screen character James Bond

Daniel starred in the most recent five Bond movies from 2006 before ending his reign in the 2021 movie No Time To Die.

While in character as 007, he made a famous appearance alongside the Queen in a sketch to mark the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Daniel has also appeared in Knives Out (2019) alongside Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Jamie Lee Curtis, and will make a return in the film’s sequel due to premiere at the end of next month.

The Order of St Michael and St George is the same gong the famous spy was bestowed in the novels by Ian Fleming. 

Screen idol: Daniel starred in the most recent five Bond movies from 2006 before ending his reign in the 2021 movie No Time To Die

In the book From Russia With Love, a spy chief states that 007 ‘was decorated with the CMG in 1953, an award usually given only on retirement from the Secret Service’. 

Daniel is being awarded for his services to film and theatre- with the title usually only reserved for senior diplomats.

The Order of St Michael and St George was founded in 1818  by the Prince Regent (later George IV,) following the Napoleonic Wars to recognise service by citizens in Malta and the Ionian Islands. 

It was later changed to encompass all British citizens living or serving abroad and allow for greater recognition of services to foreign affairs. This is still at the heart of the Order today. 

Before the release of his final Bond movie No Time To Die last year, Daniel was appointed an honorary Commander by the Royal Navy, another rank held by his character. 

Pun: The Royal Family’s official Twitter account shared a photo of Daniel receiving his honour, alongside the famous Bond movie line: ‘We’ve been expecting you’

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