Life imitates art for The Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Life imitated art as Julia Donaldson received a CBE for her services to literature from Prince William.

The author and playwright is best known for her work on The Gruffalo, which she created in the late 1990s, had to hold her hat on as she met the Duke of Cambridge, much like title character in one of her books.

"I was mortified," she responded when asked about her mishap. "I tried to put it on at a jaunty angle - I am not usually a hat wearer. In 'The Witch, The Room and The Broom' her hat blows off.

"I said to my two children before that perhaps the wind would blow so violently that it would blow off my hat and sure it did. I always do something wrong."

The children's book, which tells the story of a mouse avoiding danger while walking through woods, has since been turned into a film and a play, having sold 13.5million copies worldwide.

Collaborating with German illustrator Axel Scheffler, Donaldson wrote a sequel to The Gruffalo, published in 2004.

Donaldson, who was born in London in 1948, was previously awarded an MBE in 2011 but this has now been upgraded.

In the same year she was appointed the Children's Laureate for the champions of libraries.

In addition to the light-hearted banter after her blue hat tried to escape, Donaldson also discussed Prince William's daughter's birthday celebrations.

"He said it was Princess Charlotte's birthday and she was going to have a rowdy party.

"He remembered that we'd met before when Axel Scheffler has decorated one of the rhinos for one of the charities, Husk, that he's patron of, so we talked about that.

"I did plug one of my books; I've got a book set in Buckingham Palace 'What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday' with the Queen's corgies, so he said he'd look out for that one. I couldn't resist a little plug of my titles."