It’s that time of year again when the Queen of England compiles her list of those worthy and deserving enough to be a recipient of one of her birthday honours. It’s an incredibly privileged award and usually only issued to those who have contributed in a highly significant way to their community or country.
And though we generally only hear of the more famous recipients, the honours are issued to members of the general public across all sectors particularly to those who have achieved or accomplished something worthy of being recognised at the highest level.
For example, over 275 people were awarded the British Empire Medal for the Queens Birthday Honours just recently and they included everyday people for services to policing, local government, to their community and for their charitable work.
For those of us who are more familiar with some of the titles, the OBE is one which garners a lot of publicity. it is the Order of the British Empire and recognises distinguished service to those involved with charities, welfare organisations, public services and the arts and sciences.
It was created in 1917 during World War 1 when King George V saw the need to create a new list in a bid to more widely recognise those that were helping the war effort both on the front lines and at home.
Fast forward to 2013 and the range of people included has widened and though there are still a large number of soldiers honoured, it has extended beyond that even if sometimes the service appears on the surface as being quite frivolous such as for services to fashion journalism as in the case of Hillary Alexander who is the fashion editor of The Daily Telegraph.
I only say that as others on the list include Professor Wendy Atkin a Professor in gastrointestinal epidemiology at the Imperial College London in recognition for her services to bowel cancer prevention which seems a little more worthy on the face of things.
A more familiar face in the UK is Clare Balding who most of us recognise for her TV racing coverage, particularly the Grand National, and her OBE is for services to broadcasting and journalism.
Those in the Armed Forces, on the recommendation of the Ministry Of Defence, are also eligible for an honour for exceptional gallantry, achievement or service and can qualify for both civilian and military decorations.
The highest Military Award issued for the Queens Birthday 2013 was to General Sir Peter Anthony Wall of the Royal Engineers who was given the Knights Grand Cross of the Order Of Bath (GCB) with the Knights Companion of the Order Of Bath being given to Lt Gen Richard Barrons of the Royal regiment of Artillery and Lt Gen Adrian Bradshaw of the Kings Royal Hussars.
Most illustrious of all though must be the Knighthoods. From a regular everyday person to ‘Sir‘ or ‘Dame’ in the length of time it takes for the Queen to bestow it using the sword also previously used by her father.
The latest of those indoctrinated into this very exclusive club includes the much loved Anthony Robinson for his public and political service although we all know him better as the hapless and dry-witted Baldrick from Blackadder, one of only 29 men to be knighted this time around.
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