A HERO cop who put his life on the line to save Princess Anne from an attempted armed kidnap, has claimed he has been forced to retire from the force.

Former Pc Ivor MacGregor spoke after receiving the Queen’s Police Award for his lifelong services to policing at Buckingham Palace from the Princess Royal herself.

The ex-Metropolitan police officer, who lives in Langdon Hills, said the decision for him to retire “was made by senior officers”, but was unsure if the police budget cuts were behind the decision.

The dad of four said: “It was suggested I went quite forcefully, so I decided to go rather than stay and fight it, to make something of my life as soon as possible.”

He described the police budget cuts as “a Government necessity” but added: “I hope the way it’s done won’t affect too strongly the frontline policing of the Met and the country”.

As he collected his medal at Buckingham Palace yesterday, after being named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours, it was the first time the 64-year-old had spoken to the Princess since he rescued her 37 years go.

In 1974, he was on patrol in Oxford Street, when he was called to The Mall where the princess’s Rolls-Royce had been blocked off by a gunman.

Four people were shot and wounded as mentally-ill Ian Ball opened fire with a revolver before Pc MacGregor managed to grapple the gun from the man.

Speaking about collecting his award from the princess, he said: “It’s like Michael Palin’s Full Circle, I’ve gone completely around.

“Coming here we passed where it took place.

“She remembered. She said ‘This is a turn out for the books, isn’t it?’ She was very pleasant indeed.”

Mr MacGregor described his police career as “varied”, but said he had “loved it”.

Mr MacGregor is married to his wife Sally, 43, and has four children – Kathryn, 20, Ellie, 18, David, 11 and Bobby, eight.

He added: “It’s just been a journey of ups and downs, mostly ups, and it’s been exceedingly enjoyable to do.

“It’s been a good life. I really have enjoyed it.”

“I’m grateful to be recognised for what I’ve done.”

During his 43 years of service, he received a number of commendations, including one for the arrest and conviction of a double murderer.