The Archers would be delighted to have the Queen make a special guest appearance, the long-running show's former editor has said.

The Queen's sister Princess Margaret made history by appearing on the rural radio drama in 1984 and was followed in 2011 by the Duchess of Cornwall.

But Vanessa Whitburn, who stepped down from her role as editor of the BBC radio show last year after 22 years in charge, said she thinks the matter is one for the royal household.

The 62-year-old received an OBE at Buckingham Palace today. She was awarded the accolade for services to radio drama in the Queen's New Year Honours List.

Ms Whitburn was one of 109 people to receive honours from the Prince of Wales, including opera director John Copley CBE and former deputy governor of the Bank of England Sir Paul Tucker.

"I'm sure the programme would love it (more royal appearances)," she said.

Asked about a part for the Queen, she added: "I imagine the programme would be delighted but I think one has to leave that sort of thing up to the royal household."

Ms Whitburn said she now listens to the show, which drew upwards of five million listeners during her reign, as a fan and is enjoying the drama.

She said she is "enjoying being surprised by storylines now", as before she was always aware of "everything that was going on".

She attributed the show's success to its relevance to modern life.

"It's about real life, real people and real emotions.

"It's also about farming and how food is produced which is such an important part of daily life.

"People are even more interested in agriculture now as one of the fundamental things that make this country run."

The show's broad appeal is illustrated by the fact the Duchess of Cornwall is what Ms Whitburn described as "an avid fan".

"Prince Charles said he was pleased I was getting this honour and added that his wife was also very pleased," she said.

"He said he hopes the new boss would do well because Camilla is still an avid fan."

Expressing her delight after the ceremony today, Ms Whitburn said she had always enjoyed her job and this recognition was "something extra, something unexpected".