Jacqueline Gold speaks exclusively to HELLO! about her CBE

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Jacqueline Gold has spoken for the first time about her reaction to being awarded a CBE in an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine.

Read the full interview in this week's HELLO! magazine, on sale now in all good newsagents and available to download on iPad, android, kindle fire and more formats. Or subscribe today to make sure you don't miss an issue!

Jacqueline, speaking exclusively to HELLO! from her home with husband Dan Cunningham and their six-year-old daughter Scarlet, tells HELLO! she wants to set the record straight after claims that the award was sanctioned only because of her emerging friendship with the Prime Minister, something Jacqueline is keen to address, having never met David Cameron.

"I’d be lying if I said recent criticism hasn’t hurt me, but I also understand where it comes from," she says. "There are people who still have very outdated views of Ann Summers in this country and there is some snobbery around that. And if there is a perception that I’m David Cameron’s best friend, then perhaps there is an agenda to get at him at my expense."

"The truth is it [the CBE] came as a total shock," she adds. "I’ve been awarded a CBE for ‘Service to Entrepreneurship, Women in Business and Social Enterprise’. It’s absolutely the highlight of my career and marks another milestone in my life."

And she says she is looking forward to meeting the Queen during the investiture ceremony. "I’ve actually met the Queen twice before and found her remarkable," Jacqueline explains. "We might discuss what it’s like to be a strong woman at the head of a big firm."

In the interview, Dan pays tribute to his wife’s commitment to both her family and the business that made her name. "Jacqueline is a great mum. The business has been her baby for 35 years but when she comes home at 5pm she takes that hat off and puts the Mummy one on," he said.

And Jacqueline says she never thought she would have such a successful career.

"When I started out in business, people told me I’d last two years, but I’m still here after 35. I’ve always been a woman on a mission and I always will be."