Lionesses Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze made MBEs at Windsor Castle

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Lionesses Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze have been given MBEs for services to football.

The pair, who won the 2022 European Championship with England, received the honour from the Prince of Wales.

Mead, 28, was previously joint Golden Boot winner at the Euro 2022 tournament and went on to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022.

She is recovering from a knee injury and expects to be unable to play for the next four months, making her chances of playing at the World Cup slim.

She told PA: "I'm back on the pitch, back kicking a ball. So it's starting to be a little bit more normal again, but it's been a long, tough period.

"I will try my hardest to get as close to that as possible. But (the World Cup) may be a little bit too soon for me this time around."

Despite having surgery last month, Bronze, 32, said she was confident she will be fit for Barcelona's Champions League final on 3 June and the Women's World Cup this summer.

She said: "I think (the World Cup) is really far in the future and I should be back training within a few weeks now. The surgery was two weeks ago but very minor compared to some of the other girls.

"My challenge by the end of the season was to do an interview in Spanish. I'm hoping to get back fit for the Champions League final and we'll see if I can whip up a couple of sentences in Spanish to say on TV."

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The pair swapped their football kits for suits and high heels for the ceremony in Windsor.

Bronze said: "The first thing Prince William said was 'Oh, I'm not used to seeing you dress differently' because obviously he came to a lot of the things before the Euros and he has come to see us before in training. I made sure I did my hair for my nan."

The players said the MBEs are another sign of how far women's football has come.

Mead said: "As an England squad we wanted to provide a legacy for young girls and boys to excel in football and make it such a big prospect. We didn't want it to then become just a buzz over a few months and then it fizzle off again."

The Arsenal footballer added: "We would love the full team to have got this (MBE) but we're here and we're flying the flag for the England team and the women's game in general.

"We want to support and do the best that we can to get (women's football) to the next level and it's exciting seeing from when I started out at Arsenal six years ago to where the game is at now. We want the next generation to be even better than we are now."

Other honours

The European champions were among 59 people receiving honours at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, including wildlife campaigner Dame Virginia McKenna and former Watford footballer Luther Blissett, who was one of the most prominent players in the 1970s and 1980s.