The different types of honours and how many have been awarded


Special honours are given to people who make incredible contributions to their community and the country, with this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours rewarding 1,495 people.

The list was postponed from June in order to include people such as medical workers, fundraisers and volunteers who have been instrumental in the Covid-19 effort, with the Cabinet Office stating more than 4,000 nominations were received since May.

Here are the ranks in descending order and how many people were awarded each honour:

– Companions of Honour (CH)

The highest accolade is awarded to those who have made a longstanding contribution to arts, science, medicine or government.

Clothing designer Sir Paul Smith
Clothing designer Sir Paul Smith

It went to British fashion designer Paul Smith, who was knighted in 2000 and now joins the likes of Sir Elton John, JK Rowling and Sir Paul McCartney.

– Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG)

This honour rewards service in a foreign country or in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.

It was awarded to Graham Wrigley, chairman of development finance institution CDC Group, for services to international development.

– Order of the Bath (DCB/KCB/CB)

These honours recognise the work of senior military officials and civil servants.

David Sterling
David Sterling

Clare Moriarty, who served as permanent secretary of the Department for Exiting the European Union, was made Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB), while the former head of the Northern Ireland civil service David Sterling was made Knight Commander (KCB).

The Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) was awarded to nine people.

– Knighthood and damehood (Knight/DBE)

These honours are usually given to people who have made a major contribution at national level and see recipients use the titles Dame and Sir.

Mary Berry
Mary Berry

There were 15 knighthoods in this year’s Birthday Honours and 12 damehoods, including former long distance runner Brendan Foster and former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry.

– Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

This honour is awarded to people who have a prominent but lesser role at national level, or a leading role at regional level.

It is also given to those who make a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area.

In total, 97 people were made CBE including singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading and former Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas.

– Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

This honour is awarded to people who have a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally.

Sally Wainwright
Sally Wainwright

Among the 260 people recently appointed OBE are writer and director Sally Wainwright and Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, who leads the Covid Symptom Study (CSS) app.

– Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

The title is awarded for outstanding achievements or service to the community which have had a long-term significant impact.

The highest proportion of people were appointed MBE this year – 561 – and included footballer Marcus Rashford for services to vulnerable children in the UK during Covid-19.

– British Empire Medal (BEM)

The BEM was reintroduced in 2012 by then prime minister David Cameron as part of his bid to make the honours system “classless”, saying too few people making a difference in their areas were made MBEs.

Lady Leshurr
Lady Leshurr

The medal was given to 537 people in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, the second highest portion of the total, including rappers Lady Leshurr and Krept and Konan.