TV presenter and campaigner Esther Rantzen said that her "greatest wish" is that her husband had lived to see her become a Dame.
The 74-year-old receives the honour for services to children and older people, having established telephone helplines Childline and The Silver Line.
Her husband of 30 years, Desmond Wilcox, died in 2000.
Dame Esther said: "I am thrilled that this honour recognises the contribution made by ChildLine and The Silver Line in transforming lives, and I am delighted that the talented teams at both charities have also been recognised for their inspirational work and devotion to the most vulnerable children and older people in our society.
"I feel completely committed to the work of both charities and it is a wonderful honour to receive in my 75th year. My greatest wish is that Desmond could be here to share this news - he would have been so excited."
Fashion designer Mary Quant, whose parents are Welsh, has been made a Dame in the New Year's Honours list.
54 people in Wales have been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours list for their contribution to society.
The creators of the Tower of London poppies, Joan Collins and Sheridan Smith are among those receiving awards in the New Year Honours list.