Damian Lewis and Ian Rankin honored by the Queen on her Jubilee
Lewis, 51, has been recognized for his services to theater and charity. He and his wife Helen McCrory raised money for a charity providing meals to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 shutdowns. McCrory, an actor who starred in the TV drama ‘Peaky Blinders,’ died of cancer last year at the age of 52.
Rankin, the creator of the dogged detective Inspector Rebus, can call himself Sir Ian after being knighted.
“I don’t know what Detective Inspector John Rebus would think about that,” Rankin, 62, said. “He would almost certainly tell me not to be too big of a head.”
Royal honors are awarded twice a year, at New Year and in June, for service to the British community or national life.
Along with a sprinkling of famous names, there are dozens of individuals little known outside of their communities or professions. This year’s winners reflect causes close to the monarch’s heart, including youth engagement, the environment and public service.
The awards remain widely coveted as a mark of recognition despite concerns about associations with Britain’s imperial past in their name.
Pianist and composer Stephen Hough and filmmaker Isaac Julien were among the Knights. Former Northern Ireland Prime Minister Arlene Foster has become a lady, the female equivalent of a knight, as has Ann Limb, the first gay person to lead Britain’s Scouting Association.
Author Salman Rushdie, who spent years living under the threat of death from Iran for his novel “The Satanic Verses”, has been named a Companion of Honor, an award limited to 65 people “of distinction”. Quentin Blake, illustrator of Roald Dahl’s children’s classics, also joined the honor list companion.
Fashion designer Stella McCartney received a CBE, while screenwriter Heidi Thomas, creator of ‘Call the Midwife’, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE.
Bonnie Tyler, singer of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE.
“I’m just a small town girl in Wales who loves to sing so to be recognized for it in this way means a lot to me and my family and friends,” Tyler said.
In the world of sport, awards include an MBE for former Tottenham Hotspur football star Gareth Bale and OBEs for former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand, cricketer Moeen Ali and the team’s Eve Muirhead. British women’s curling Olympic gold medalist.
There was also an MBE for Gregory Rowland, a master wheelwright from South West England who helps keep an ancient craft alive and repairs the Queen’s royal carriages.
And a sugar-loving nation has knighted Jim Walker, whose family business makes Walker’s Shortbread, a buttery Scottish biscuit sold around the world.
The list included knights or ladies for key players in Britain’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including National Health Service medical director Stephen Powis, England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May, vaccine researcher from the University of Edinburgh Aziz Sheikh and Pascal Soriot, chief executive of the vaccine manufacturer. Astra Zeneca.
The organizers of last year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow were also on the list.
Several officials were also credited with working to get some 15,000 British and Afghan nationals out of Kabul when the city fell to the Taliban last year. The staging of the operation was branded a “disaster” by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, although lawmakers praised staff on the ground who “implemented a chaotic policy to the best of their abilities”.
Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public, with awards given by members of the Royal Family at ceremonies at Buckingham Palace.
In descending order, the main honors are Knights, CBE, OBE and MBE. Knights are called “sir” or “lady”, followed by their name. Recipients of other honors do not have a title, but may put the letters after their name.