Famous faces in showbiz, sport and politics have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, with recipients this year said to reflect the monarch’s “invaluable” qualities ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.
Those behind the selection process said there was more consideration for people who have represented themes such as youth engagement, the environment and sustained public service to mark the monarch’s milestone.
There are top honours for English-Indian author Sir Salman Rushdie and illustrator Sir Quentin Blake, who are made Companions of Honour for services to literature and illustration respectively.
Sir Quentin said: “Of course, it is an enormous privilege to be appointed a Companion of Honour, but it is also of special interest to me because it is not, unlike so many awards, just a medal that is pinned on you.”
Sir Salman said: “It was with great surprise and delight that I learned of this extraordinary honour. It’s a privilege to be included in such illustrious company, both past and present.”
Elsewhere in showbiz, Homeland actor Damian Lewis, presenter Clare Balding and fashion designer Stella McCartney are made CBEs.
MBEs are to be served up to MasterChef duo John Torode and Gregg Wallace for services to food and charity.
Torode said: “I am truly thrilled, humbled and very grateful and I’d like to thank those who nominated me for this great honour of an MBE.”
And his co-star Wallace said: “From a council estate in Peckham to being recognised by the Queen is for me something akin to a fairytale story. I am incredibly, incredibly proud.”
Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus novels and winner of several national and international awards, is knighted for services to literature and charity.
Also knighted is Nicholas Coleridge, chairman of the V&A Museum and co-chair of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, which on Sunday will see a 3km carnival procession through central London featuring a cast of thousands.
A record proportion of Queen’s Birthday Honours are going to women, the percentage this year – 51.5% – slightly higher than the previous record of 51.2% set in 2015.
The proportion going to people from ethnic minority backgrounds, 13.3%, is down from a record 15.0% last year, while slightly more are going to people who are disabled.
The percentage of LGBT recipients is down slightly from last year, from 5.0% to 4.6%.
Balding said: “I am so surprised and truly thrilled to receive such a prestigious honour and very much see it as a reflection of how much people care about sport.
“I love being given the opportunity to broadcast sporting events and to talk about the positive impact of sport.”
In the football world, five-time Champions League winner and former Tottenham winger Gareth Bale and Liverpool player James Milner are made MBEs, while ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand becomes an OBE.
Eve Muirhead, of Great Britain’s women’s curling side, will be made an OBE after helping the country to top the podium in the Winter Olympics in February.
Her teammates Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith and Victoria Wright become MBEs along with coach David Murdoch.
Meanwhile, cricketer Moeen Ali is made an OBE.
Ali said: “It’s an honour to be recognised, it’s amazing and my family are really proud and happy. More than anything, I know it makes my parents happy.”
Former Stormont first minister and ex-DUP leader Arlene Foster is made a dame and Conservative MP and former attorney general Jeremy Wright is knighted, days after calling for the Prime Minister to resign in the wake of the partygate saga.
Dame Arlene said: “This is the Platinum Jubilee year and Her Majesty the Queen has given so much devotion and service to the country, so to receive it in her Platinum Jubilee year is really special for me. It’s a real thrill for me.”
Tory MPs Maria Miller, Tracey Crouch and Chris Skidmore are also on the list, with a damehood, CBE and OBE respectively, while Labour MP Nia Griffith is also made a dame and her colleague Stephen Timms is knighted.
And there is a second successive honour for the Blair family following former prime minister Sir Tony’s knighthood at New Year, as his son Euan is named an MBE for services to education in his role as founder of Multiverse, which provides apprenticeship programmes.
Elsewhere, NHS England national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis and AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot are knighted and England’s Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May is made a dame as they appear among a host of names recognised for their effort during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Angela Redgrave, 104, the oldest recipient on the list, and twins Elena and Ruben Evans-Guillen, 11, the youngest, receive BEMs, the latter two after raising £50,000 for the NHS over the past three years.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This historic Platinum Jubilee is not only a celebration of the monarch but of the qualities she possesses.
“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.
“I pay tribute to all of this year’s winners. Their stories of courage and compassion are an inspiration to us all.”
A Government spokeswoman told a briefing at Lancaster House, in central London, on Tuesday: “Each of our selection committees was asked in particular to consider the themes of the Jubilee, looking at youth engagement, environment and sustainability and sustained public service.
“So those were considered alongside all of the things usually looked at, service to others, sustained commitment.
“But we have sought particularly to consider and promote cases which exemplify those themes, which are the themes across the entirety of the Jubilee.”