Former chancellor George Osborne becomes a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour

Former chancellor George Osborne has received a prestigious honour recognising his political and public service.

Mr Osborne, a major figure in David Cameron's government, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for a national political career spanning 15 years.

He received the award from the Duke of Cambridge during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.

The inclusion of Mr Osborne into this elite group, which includes Stephen Hawking and Sir David Attenborough, in former Prime Minister Mr Cameron's resignation honours list led to accusations of cronyism.

What is the Order of the Companions of Honour?

  • The Companion of Honour award was founded in 1917 by King George V to "recognise services of national importance".

  • There are never more than 65 elected members of the Order.

  • In addition, there are Honorary Companion Orders handed to members of the Commonwealth. There are currently three, including Desmond Tutu.

  • Current members include Stephen Hawking, Sir John Major, David Hockney and Dame Judi Dench (one of just eight women).

  • Unlike other Orders (OBE, CBE) membership of the Companion of Honour confers no title or precedence, but those elected into the Order are entitled to use the letters CH after their names.

George Osborne and David Cameron in 2015. Credit: PA

Mr Cameron's honours list recognised a string of political supporters, Conservative Party donors, Downing Street staff and some leading figures from his Government.

Mr Osborne served as chancellor for six years, first during the coalition government headed by Mr Cameron and later when the Tory leader won an outright majority following the general election in 2017. He was later sacked by Theresa May when she took office this summer and established her own cabinet.

The former Chancellor said about his award: "I'm deeply touched and honoured to receive this, it's a very special award and for all the challenges, as six years as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I really enjoyed it and hopefully never lost sight of trying to do the right thing for the public - although others will judge."

Asked after the ceremony about US President-elect, Donald Trump, the former Chancellor said: "He is now going to become president of the United States and it's in everyone's interests that we make the relationship with the new administration work, because America is such an important ally and friend of ours."