An Irishman who has worked in Buckingham Palace since 1953 has been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Gold) for 60 years of continuous service.
Patrick Carroll (84), originally from Brownshill on the outskirts of Carlow town, has worked in the palace since two months before Queen Elizabeth's coronation in June 1953 and received the award yesterday in a private audience with her.
He emigrated to England in 1950 to pursue a career as a jockey.
However, 18 months after he left he was involved in a serious accident when a horse fell on top of him.
After being told by doctors that he would never ride again he secured a job as a palace messenger.
Mr Carroll said receiving the award was an "honour".
"This was a wonderful surprise, I hadn't a clue", he said.
"I'm so proud to have served the queen. We talked about the 60 years, and Her Majesty asked where the time had gone.
"I said it felt to me like a five furlong sprint. We then chatted about some of her likely runners for Royal Ascot."
Mr Carroll still works part-time as a state porter, welcoming guests to palace events including investitures.