Sue Barker ‘absolutely terrified’ before receiving CBE at Windsor Castle

Barker said she would ‘much rather’ interview the finalists at Wimbledon due to the nerves of meeting the Duke of Cambridge.

22 February 2022

Sue Barker said she felt “absolutely terrified” ahead of picking up her CBE at Windsor Castle and would “much rather” interview the finalists of the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Barker, best known as the lead presenter of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage, was given her CBE for services to sport, broadcasting and charity by the Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday.

She spoke of feeling “incredibly honoured” at the award, which “means the world” to her family.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
She spoke of feeling “incredibly honoured” (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Barker, 65, told the PA news agency: “It’s just been amazing to be recognised in this way.

“This morning I was absolutely terrified. I would much rather walk on Centre Court and interview the winner or even the loser of Wimbledon than be here.

“But they make you feel so welcome, and His Royal Highness was absolutely delightful and lovely to talk to and just made you feel so much at ease.

“So all those nerves building up just went, and you just have a conversation, he’s just so easy to talk to.

“We discussed Wimbledon and he talked about the Duchess of Cambridge and her love of Wimbledon and that he’s loved playing tennis again and then we just talked a little bit about my career as far as how many years I’ve done with Question of Sport, Wimbledon and a bit about the charities as well.”

Barker left Britain to train in the United States aged 17 and enjoyed a successful playing career, with victory in the 1976 French Open being the highlight.

For 24 years she was the presenter of the BBC’s Question of Sport quiz show, but announced she was leaving the programme earlier this year.

She has been honoured for her role as Honorary Life President of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Barker picked up her CBE alongside her husband of 34 years Lance Tankard, and said she will be phoning her “excited” 100-year-old mother ahead of a “big celebration” with the rest of her family.

She also spoke of being “really exited” ahead of this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

Asked about Novak Djokovic’s decision not to have a Covid vaccine, Barker added: “I respect his decision because it is his decision and it’s his body, everyone has to make those decisions for themselves.

“He’s made it clear that he puts his body ahead of his career and I hugely respect that, but the game misses him.

“It’s such an exciting time with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic and I feel sorry that he’s missing out.”

Dame Arlene Phillips, a staple of the worlds of dance, theatre and television, is to collect her damehood from the Princess Royal this afternoon.

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