Royal enquiry unmasks Edwards aim

Princess Anne & Charlotte Edwards

Unflappable England women's captain Charlotte Edwards admitted she was nervous as she accepted her MBE

Charlotte Edwards revealed that Princess Anne enquired how much time the England captain had left in the game when she received her MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Edwards, 29, was rewarded for services to cricket in a ceremony with HRH the Princess Royal yesterday, capping a superb year in which England women were crowned champions in both limited-overs fields, winning the World Cup in Australia followed by the World Twenty20 on English shores. Her side also retained the Ashes.

And Edwards, so used to receiving trophies on behalf of her team, admitted that it was a strange feeling to win an individual accolade.

She told “I think she was maybe suggesting I should retire!"

“The princess remarked that I’d played for a long time. ‘And would I be continuing?’, she asked.

“‘Oh, yes,' I told her. As I’m looking to retain our title in the 2013 World Cup.

“But it was a wonderful ceremony and a humbling day. She thought it was nice that I work for Chance to shine, helping children to play in schools, as I myself learned to play at school.

“It was great. But I was quite nervous for the first time in a long time. I’m used to being around a team, so to do something on my own for once is quite different.

“I’ve been famed for picking up awards on behalf of a team. I know I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have without the team.”

Despite all the success of the calendar year, Edwards’ 2009 finished in disappointing fashion, with England losing both the Twenty20 international and one-day series to West Indies in the Caribbean this month.

Claire Taylor & Sarah Taylor

Edwards is confident the return of the two Taylors puts her side in good stead when they head back to the West Indies

The tour was intended to serve as preparation for next spring's World Twenty20, which primarily takes place on the same ground in Warner Park, St Kitts, in May.

England, missing star batsman and Wisden Cricketer of the Year Claire Taylor and wicketkeeper-batsman Sarah Taylor, were humbled by a motivated Windies side coached by former male international batsman Sherwin Campbell.

Edwards admitted the series defeats were a shock to the system, but with arduous challenges ahead believes that they could be considered a “blessing in disguise” in the long run.

“We haven’t lost too many games in the last 13 months, so in that sense it was a shock,” she said. “To lose to a side ranked below us wasn’t great. And I hate losing anyway.

“But credit must go to West Indies. They played very well and we were a bit underprepared.

"We know have two very good players to come back into our team (the Taylors). We gave some valuable experience to our younger girls out there. And maybe we’ve had a bit of a wake-up call as the other teams are catching us up.

“But I really believe it was just a blip out in the West Indies. I think it’s something we’ll be stronger for in the future.

“We’ve learned a lot about the ground and the wicket. And next time we’ll go out to the Caribbean we'll go earlier to acclimatise to the weather. That was a key factor.

“We had a great two weeks there. It was a lovely place, but not so much when you’re losing.”