Poet Simon Armitage collects CBE at Buckingham Palace

Simon Armitage Armitage said he was "flattered" to receive the honour

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Poet Simon Armitage has collected his CBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in London.

The 47-year-old said it had taken him a few days to realise he had been offered the honour, as he had put the message from the Queen to one side by mistake.

"I saw the letter and thought it was a tax demand," he recalled.

American-born playwright Bonnie Greer and John Cale, a founding member of the Velvet Underground, also collected OBEs at Friday's investiture ceremony.

Huddersfield-born Armitage said it was "flattering" to be honoured but played down suggestions it increased his chances of being Poet Laureate.

"Poetry doesn't always get as much attention as I might like it to," he told reporters.

"So it feels like a day to carry the flag for poetry."

Greer, who became a British citizen in 1997, paid tribute to her late father as she picked up her honour.

She said she saw the medal as a way of thanking her GI father and other African-American soldiers for fighting for European freedom.

"To come here to the UK, to London, to see black men and women move freely through the streets and meet the Jamaican airmen in the RAF was huge for my father," she said.

Her father, she said, had named her after an earlier Prince Charles - the 18th Century Jacobite pretender known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie".

Prince Charles and John Cale John Cale arrived at the palace with dyed pink, white and blue hair

Cale - who arrived at the palace with his hair dyed pink, white and blue - said it felt "strange" to receive an OBE.

"Someone has decided that you have done something right, and it is your job to figure out what that is," he said.

"I had no idea it was coming. My mother would be very proud if she were alive today."

Born in south Wales, Cale first began working with Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground in New York in the mid-1960s.

He left the band in 1968 and has since recorded more than 20 albums.

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