As Commonwealth celebrates the Queen, she celebrates a few ‘commoners’
Actor Damian Lewis and author Ian Rankin among those hailed by Queen Elizabeth in her birthday honours
Actor Damian Lewis, author Ian Rankin and former Northern Ireland first minister Arlene Foster were among more than 1,100 people recognised by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in her annual birthday honours.
The list, issued to mark the 96-year-old monarch’ official birthday, honours recipients for their “outstanding” contributions. Most awards recognise public service or community work.
This year’s honours come as the nation gathers to celebrate the queen’s 70 years on the throne.
“This historic Platinum Jubilee is not only a celebration of the monarch, but of the qualities she possesses,” prime minister Boris Johnson said. “The honours she confers this week reflect many of those qualities that have been invaluable from all different walks of life and to communities across the UK.”
Lewis, who won a Golden Globe for his role in TV drama Homeland, was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to drama and charity for initiating a campaign with his late wife, Helen McCrory, to raise £1m (about R19.5m) to provide food for health service workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foster, who served as first minister in the British province between 2016 and 2021, was among politicians to be honoured and becomes a dame, while crime writer Rankin, creator of the acclaimed Inspector Rebus series, receives a knighthood.
Previously knighted author Salman Rushdie and renowned illustrator Quentin Blake, best known for his work in Roald Dahl’s books for children, were made Companions of Honour, of which there are only 65 at any one time.
From the world of sport, former England soccer player Rio Ferdinand was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), while Wales soccer captain Gareth Bale, Liverpool stalwart James Milner and England cricketer Moeen Ali were all made MBEs (Members of the Order of the British Empire).
Members of Britain’s gold medal-winning Olympic women’s curling team also received OBEs.
Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of media baron Rupert Murdoch and founder of two successful independent TV production companies, was given a CBE for her work with Arts Council England.
Among the 1,134 people to receive honours was Angela Redgrave, founder and principal of the Bristol School of Dancing, who was awarded a British Empire Medal, and at 104 was the oldest recipient on the list.