State & CeremonialThe Queen

Arise Sir Billy Connolly, Dame Julie Walters & Dame June Whitfield! Birthday Honours revealed

Comedian Billy Connolly and actress Julie Walters are among the high-profile names who have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Billy Connolly is being bestowed a Knighthood for services to entertainment and charity, and Julie Walters also receives a Damehood for services to drama.

PC Keith Palmer, the hero police officer killed in the Westminster Terror attack has been awarded a posthumous George Medal which recognises actions that “saved lives”.

Bernard Kenny, the pensioner who tried to save and protect murdered MP Jo Cox, also receives a George Medal.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours, which is one of the two annual honours lists released (the other at New Year’s) in which individuals who have made a contribution to public life, in one way or another, are honoured for their service.

Honours can range from knighthoods to the recently-reintroduced British Empire Medal, given for contributions on a more local level such as for services to charity or fundraising.

The Order of the Companion of Honour is celebrating its centenary year in 2017. To celebrate the occasion, nine well-known figures are to receive appointments to the order. This includes TV cook Delia Smith, author JK Rowling, singer Sir Paul McCartney, and climate change expert Lord Stern.

Other well-known faces to receive recognition in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List include comedian David Walliams. Mr Walliams is awarded an OBE for services to charity and the arts.

Comedian David Walliams receives an OBE

Journalist and broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky also receives an OBE. This in recognition for her services to Holocaust Commemoration.

The oldest person to receive recognition on this year’s list is 100-year-old retired actress Olivia de Havilland. She becomes a Dame for services to drama.

91-year-old actress June Whitfield also receives a Damehood for services to drama and entertainment. Patricia Hodge is another actress who is being recognised and will be presented with an OBE.

In the world of sport, tennis coach Judy Murray receives an OBE for services to tennis, women in sport and charity. British and Irish rugby player, Rory Best, is bestowed with the same honour.

Captain of the Northern Ireland Football Team, Steven Davies, will be presented with an MBE. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will also receive an MBE for services to music and charity.

The proportion of women who have received honours has increased significantly compared to previous years. Women bestowed with the highest form on an honour (CBE and above) has increased to 43%.

There has also been an increase on ordinary people receiving honours, with a total of 74% of awards in the going to people who have undertaken outstanding work in or for their local community.

According to the Cabinet Office, 10% of the successful candidates come from a BAME background: the greatest ever number of BAME recipients in an Honours List. A further 6.5% of candidates consider themselves to have a disability.