Covid leaders, sport stars and politicians dominate Platinum Jubilee honours list

Damian Lewis, Sir Salman Rushdie and Clare Balding all received awards in the Queen's Jubilee honours list. Credit: PA

Actor Damian Lewis, author Sir Salman Rushdie and Clare Balding are among those awarded in the Queen's birthday honours list to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

They are among a host of major leaders, sports stars, celebrities, authors and academics to feature on the Queen's honours list, with recipients this year said to reflect the monarch’s “invaluable” qualities.

Continuing the theme of honouring the people who helped lead the fight against Covid, several key players have received top awards.

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.

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie was made one of the Companions of Honour Credit: PA

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.”

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%.

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.

Rio Ferdinand becomes an OBE. Credit: PA

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.”

Stella McCartney has worked with the royals in the past. Credit: PA

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.

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.

Great Britain curling Gold medalists Eve Muirhead, Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff and Mili Smith. Credit: PA

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.”

Tracey Crouch MP has been given an award. Credit: PA

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.

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.”

Who else was honoured?

  • Dame Sue Ion, chairwoman of the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board, Dame Grand Cross for services to engineering

  • Singer Bonnie Tyler, MBE for services to music

  • Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton, MBE for services to British Army, personnel and veterans

  • Coronation Street star Helen Worth, who plays the role of Gail Platt, MBE for  services to drama 

  • Former world snooker champions Mark Selby and Judd Trump, MBEs for services to snooker and charity

  • Beijing Paralympic super-G skier Neil Simpson and his guide and brother, Andrew Simpson, MBEs for services to skiing

  • Neil and Lora Fachie, a married couple who won para-cycling gold medals in Tokyo last summer, OBEs for services to cycling.

  • Ann Limb, the first female and openly gay chair of the Scouts, made a Dame for services to young people and philanthropy

  • Captain Harpreet Kaur Chandi, believed to be the first woman of colour to complete a solo and unsupported expedition across Antarctica, MBE

  • Writer Dame Marina Warner, Companion of Honour for services to the humanities

  • Call the Midwife screenwriter Heidi Thomas, OBE for services to drama

  • Birds of a Feather actress Pauline Quirke, MBE for services to young people, to the entertainment industry and to charity

  • Joanne Harris, OBE for services to literature

The honours system

Here are the commonly awarded ranks in the honours system:

  • Companions of Honour (CH), which goes to those who have made a long-standing contribution to arts, science, medicine or government.

  • Dame Grand Cross. The highest class in many of the Orders.

  • Order of the Bath (DCB/KCB/CB). This recognises the work of senior military officials and civil servants.

  • Order of St Michael and St George (Knight/GCMG/KCMG/DCMG/CMG). This recognises service in a foreign country, or in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs, such as the work of diplomats overseas.

  • Knighthood and damehood (Knight/DBE) These are usually bestowed on people who have made a major contribution at national level, who can use the titles Dame and Sir.

  • Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). People are recognised with this honour if they have a prominent but lesser role at national level, or a leading role at regional level. It also goes to those who make a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area.

  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). People are made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire if they have a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally.

  • Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). This rank recognises outstanding achievements or service to the community which have had a long-term significant impact.