Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson among sports stars recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2021

Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling were both made MBE's in this year's honours list. Credit: PA

Celebrities, famous faces and not-so-famous faces have been named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, which recognises people who have “made achievements in public life” and “committed themselves to serving and helping Britain”. As well as highlighting the achievements of Covid-19 heroes, this year’s list has been record-breaking in terms of diversity, with 15% of recipients from an ethnic minority background being the highest proportion to date.

This year's honours have been the most diverse. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, 9% of those honoured had a disability, 17.3% were from a lower socio-economic background and 5% identified as LGBT. More women (50.2%) than men feature on the list, the first time this has happened since 2015.

Some 262 of those on the main honours list have been recommended for their Covid-19 related service – 23% of the total.

Out of the 1,129 people receiving honours, 62% are being recognised for community work.

More than half of the honours list were women for the first time since 2015. Credit: PA


In sport, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is made an MBE after he raised £4 million for the NHS from fellow Premier League footballers through the #PlayersTogether appeal.

Henderson said he was “humbled” by the award and insisted he was only part of a movement among with his Premier League counterparts, he dedicated his honour to NHS staff. “But the true heroes are the NHS staff. They put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us," Henderson said. “Therefore I dedicate this to all the nurses, doctors, carers, porters, admin workers, cleaners, security personnel and every single individual who devotes their career and their lives to making the NHS the part of British life we are rightly most proud of as a nation”.

Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling is also made an MBE for services to racial equality in sport amid controversy, over England fans booing players taking the knee at matches as a gesture against intolerance.

The 26-year-old has been subjected to vile online abuse throughout his career for both club and country.

The Premier League star said he was “grateful” to have been recognised for his work on racial equality, adding “my priority is to try to help to educate society and myself”. He said: “My motivation for racial equality is to get people to understand the difficulties people from diverse backgrounds face and create an environment where everybody is equal”. Ex-England football team manager Roy Hodgson and veteran broadcaster Sue Barker are both made CBE for their services to sport.

Entertainment: In the world of showbiz, ex-Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips is made a dame, as is much-loved Great British Bake Off star Prue Leith. Actor Jonathan Pryce, who will play the late Duke of Edinburgh in the final seasons of The Crown, said he was proud to be knighted, adding the arts showed people “the importance of debate and tolerance” in “these last few divisive years”.

Jonathan Pryce was knighted in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours. Credit: PA

In music, pop star and one-time Eurovision winner Lulu is also honoured with a CBE alongside keyboardist and songwriter Rick Wakeman whose career has seen him collaborate with David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Black Sabbath. And veteran performer Engelbert Humperdinck is made MBE for services to music. Singer Alison Moyet is also made an MBE, while cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber, brother of West End impresario Andrew Lloyd-Webber, is recognised with an OBE for services to music. Moyet, whose debut solo album was called Alf, said of the honour: “A remarkable, happy-making 60th birthday surprise for me. Basildon’s Alf with extra initials. I didn’t see that coming”.

Creative arts:

Philippa Gregory is made CBE. Credit: PA

The wider creative arts are also given a spotlight in the latest honours list with writing, sculpture, poetry and pottery getting a nod. Bestselling historical novelist Philippa Gregory, perhaps best known for her book The Other Boleyn Girl, is made CBE, while photographer Martin Parr, who has spent years documenting British life, is similarly honoured.

Also recognised is the poet and playwright Lemn Sissay, made an OBE for services to literature and charity. Sissay grew up in care and detailed his experiences in the autobiography of his early life, My Name Is Why.

Politics: Looking to politics, Meg Hillier, Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch in London, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee that has scrutinised public spending during the pandemic, is made a dame. Conservative former minister and South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom is also honoured with a damehood for her political service. Veteran Labour MP for Rochdale, Tony Lloyd, is knighted for his public service, while former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield is made a CBE.

Amika George is the youngest on this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list. Credit: PA

The youngest star of the list is 21-year-old Amika George, founder of the #FreePeriods Campaign, who is made MBE for services to education after campaigning against period poverty.

Ms George, who is from an Indian background, said she decided to accept the award in part for “other young people, particularly from the Asian community, who maybe don’t feel very empowered politically or don’t feel seen”.

Among the oldest recipients is 95-year-old Sylvia McKeegan, honoured with a BEM for her decades of support for the elderly, new mothers and children in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

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