Over 1,000 people have been honoured by Her Majesty in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list which was released today to mark The Queen’s Official Birthday. Deserving individuals from the arts, science, media and politics have all been honoured in the list, though this year 73% of the recipients have undertaken outstanding work in their communities, either in a voluntary or paid capacity.
The oldest recipient is 99-year-old Ethel Dobbins, receiving the British Empire Medal for service to the community in Thornton. Conversely, the youngest recipient this year is George Fielding, aged just 19, who is the Chair of “Whizz Kidz”, an organisation providing disabled children with wheelchairs and mobility equipment, also receiving the British Empire Medal.
Among those receiving some of the higher honours this year are Dame Maggie Smith, who is being made a Companion of Honour for her services to drama; Bristol South MP Dame Dawn Primarolo, who has been made a Dame Commander; actor Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, who is being made a Knight Bachelor and author Dame Hilary Mantel, who has also been made a Dame Commander in the Order of the British Empire for services to literature.
Stephen Sutton, who raised over £4million for charity before he died in May, accepted an MBE in the Birthday Honours and the award has been backdated to the date of his death, meaning he is listed among the others receiving honours.
Most of those receiving honours are admitted into the Order of the British Empire, though some men are knighted as Knights Bachelor and some civil servants are admitted to the Order of the Bath. The Queen’s personal honours are announced separately and recipients are admitted to the Royal Victorian Order, one of the few orders of chivalry remaining solely in the Sovereign’s personal gift.
Members of the sporting world have also been honoured in the list, including a CBE for Charlotte Edwards, the Captain of the England Women’s Rugby team and Dilawer Singh, a key member of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games bid.
An independent committee scours the country and recommendations from the public to decide on the biannual honours lists (New Year’s and The Queen’s Birthday Honours) and they are submitted to The Queen as the Prime Minister’s recommendations for honours.
The Queen or a member of the Royal Family reprsenting her will then hand out the insignia of the orders to the recipients at an investiture at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle during the year. Recipients are entitled to use the post nominals (e.g. MBE) or their new title ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ from the day the honours list is announced.
In total, 1,149 people have been honoured including 39 knight or dame hoods, 99 CBEs and 300 British Empire medals.
At New Year’s, women outnumbered men on the honours list for the first time. Today, the list is almost equal, with 49% of recipients being female.
Honours for well known personalities have been reduced in recent years in favour of unsung heroes and those who’ve had an impact on their communities. This was emphasised by the reintroduction of the British Empire Medal in 2012 as a means of honouring those who have had a notable impact in their local communities.
Some top honours have been given to several head teachers and people in education, including 8 knight or dame hoods – overall, 33 head teachers have been honoured in some way in the list. Additionally, in total over 40 professors have been included on the honours list.
Contributions from organisations and charitable groups have also been recognised with some of the awards. Chair of the Military Wives Choirs foundation, Nicola Clarke, receives an MBE.
“Money Saving Expert” Martin Lewis has been awarded the OBE for his work on Consumer Rights and charitable services through the MSE Charity Fund.
The MPs for Stone and Mid-Sussex, William Cash and Nicholas Soames respectively, are also up for knighthoods.
The list was released today in advance of The Queen’s Official Birthday tomorrow. Her Majesty will be joined by the Royal Family at Trooping the Colour and for the traditional balcony appearance and RAF fly past at 1pm. Follow the events live on Royal Central from 9.30am.