Cameron ally Sir Oliver Letwin to receive knighthood at Windsor Castle

One of David Cameron's close allies, Sir Oliver Letwin, will receive his knighthood from the Queen at a ceremony at Windsor Castle today.

The ex-prime minister's policy chief was awarded the title in Mr Cameron's resignation honours list, the release of which prompted accusations of cronyism after he dished out gongs to a string of political supporters, Conservative donors and Downing Street staff.

Sir Oliver served in the Cabinet Office and then as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster until he was axed by Theresa May in a cabinet shake-up when she replaced Mr Cameron as Prime Minister following the EU referendum.

The West Dorset MP, who said he was "delighted" with the honour, also once served as an adviser in Margaret Thatcher's Number 10 policy unit.

In 2015 he apologised "unreservedly" for any offence he caused for "racist" remarks he made in the wake of the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots in Tottenham, north London.

The comments, contained in a memorandum to the then prime minister, were made public in files released by the National Archives in Kew and Sir Oliver said he "cringed" when the memo was published.

Sir Oliver will be joined at the investiture ceremony by actor Brian Blessed, who will receive an OBE for services to art and charity.

The 79-year-old, who was among a host of celebrities to sign a letter urging the UK to stay in the EU, has enjoyed a long career on stage and screen stretching back six decades.

He has also raised money and supported animal welfare charities, including the Born Free Foundation.

Last year the star, known for his booming voice, collapsed as he began to deliver his opening lines in the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear and was later forced to withdraw from the production on medical advice.