The Duke of Cambridge presided over the second Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, presenting awards to broadcasters and naval rescuers.
Among the honourees was Leading Seaman Simon Wharton, a diver who received The Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his part in retrieving the body of a fisherman who’d gone down with his fishing vessel.
“It’s an absolute honour to have been recognised,” Wharton told reporters after the ceremony. “However, it’s bittersweet because of the situation.
“It was tragic for that individual and the family and friends of that individual, but it’s nice to have been recognised.”
The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is awarded for “exemplary acts of bravery by civilians, and by members of the Armed Forces ‘not in the face of the enemy,’” and ranks below the George Cross or George Medal but above the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.
Others recognised by the Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday include Anne-Maria Newham, who was made an MBE for her services to nursing, while Thomas Ilube was awarded a CBE for his services to technology and philanthropy.
Rosemary Johnson, the former Executive Director of the Royal Philharmonic Society, was presented with her MBE; and Matthew Coffey, the Chief Operating Officer of Ofsted, was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.
Noted British historian and television presenter Simon Schama was awarded a knighthood in recognition of his services to history. Schama had been previously awarded a CBE in 2001.
He told the Press Association after the ceremony that his father “used to take me around the castles and towers, [and] he would have been amazed at this and very happy about it. I’m very happy, too.
“You can only have a sense of where you belong with history. You need the long view of what it has meant to belong to a country like this to rescue you from the epoch of the short attention span.”
Schama also commented on the current Brexit situation from a future historical standpoint.
“We’re going through a very awful period which could conceivably put huge strain on the United Kingdom, particularly on Scotland. I do hope in a hundred years this won’t be seen as the moment when it all broke apart.
“I don’t think it will, but it just really shows the unpredictably of history.”