Sir Clive Lloyd joked that it was better late than never after being awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.
Lloyd, 75, joins a long list of West Indies cricketing greats to receive the award, including Sir Gary Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Viv Richards.
While Richards, plus the likes of Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Richie Richardson in 2014, were knighted directly by the government of Antigua, Lloyd has had to wait for his opportunity.
“I was told it was due to happen in 1985 but I was not a citizen of the UK,” Sir Clive told the PA news agency. “But better late than never as they say.
“I have a CBE and an Order of Australia along with honours from the West Indies but this tops it all.
“You know that you’ve achieved… to be recognised by the Government and the Queen makes it very special.”
Lloyd, who received a CBE in 1993, hails from Guyana, which became a republic in 1966, the year in which he made his Test debut.
He was named captain of the West Indies in 1974, three years after being awarded the prestigious title of Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
At the time the West Indies were far from a dominant force in world cricket and, after an embarrassing Test series defeat in Australia in 1976, Lloyd vowed: “I promise we will never get another flogging like this while I am captain.”
Lloyd was true to his word as he went on to establish the West Indies as a global force, as well as returning statistics which make him one of the finest Test captains of all time.
He led the West Indies in 70 Tests of which they won 36. He also led them to two World Cup wins in 1975 and 1979 and was the first West Indies player to achieve 100 international caps.
In addition to his success with the West Indies, Lloyd played for almost two decades for Lancashire, with whom he retains a strong affiliation.
After retirement, Lloyd became a respected international referee and served as both a director of the West Indies Cricket Board and as chairman of selectors.
Sir Clive, who now lives in London, says the honour caught him by surprise.
“It was a surprise because I devoted over 50 years of my life to the great game of cricket which has contributed vastly to my upward mobility in life,” he said. “So to be recognised and honoured for playing a sport which is so enjoyable is a most pleasant surprise.
“I dedicate this to my parents who taught me never to give up, to never let all the negative talk define you.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the players from the West Indies and Lancashire, who were all contributing factors to my success.
“It has made my kids very happy. I was sworn to secrecy for a couple of weeks, which was very difficult because I have people close to me, my sisters and brothers. I think you can take only a certain amount of people to the ceremony so I have to choose carefully.”