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Britain’s Covid heroes are recognised in the New Year Honours today, with top gongs for Government scientific advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance – and an MBE for Kate Garraway.

The scientists were among hundreds who were awarded for ‘Covid-related service’, which accounted for nearly a fifth of all those recognised.

Meanwhile TV presenter Miss Garraway, 54, received her honour for services to broadcasting after documenting husband Derek Draper’s battle with the illness.

Britain's Covid heroes are recognised in the New Year Honours today, with top gongs for Government scientific advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance

Britain's Covid heroes are recognised in the New Year Honours today, with top gongs for Government scientific advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance

Britain’s Covid heroes are recognised in the New Year Honours today, with top gongs for Government scientific advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance

Meanwhile TV presenter Kate Garraway, 54, received her MBE honour for services to broadcasting after documenting husband Derek Draper's battle with the illness

Meanwhile TV presenter Kate Garraway, 54, received her MBE honour for services to broadcasting after documenting husband Derek Draper's battle with the illness

Meanwhile TV presenter Kate Garraway, 54, received her MBE honour for services to broadcasting after documenting husband Derek Draper’s battle with the illness

Patrick Vallance

Patrick Vallance

Chris Whitty

Chris Whitty

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick (left), 61, will get an upgrade to become a knight commander of the Order of the Bath. Chief medical officer Professor Whitty (right) , 55, is also made a knight commander of the Order of the Bath

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘It has been a privilege to work with such dedicated professionals who have worked relentlessly throughout the pandemic providing expert advice so we can keep people safe.

‘This year the Honours List rightly recognises those whose efforts have helped us deliver world-leading testing and vaccination programmes, and I am deeply grateful for their hard work.’ 

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick, 61, will get an upgrade to become a knight commander of the Order of the Bath.

Professor Whitty's deputy, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, 57, becomes a knight bachelor

Professor Whitty's deputy, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, 57, becomes a knight bachelor

Professor Whitty’s deputy, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, 57, becomes a knight bachelor

Dr Jenny Harries

Dr Jenny Harries

Dr June Raine

Dr June Raine

Dr Jenny Harries (left), 63, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, will become a dame for services to health. Damehoods also go to NHS England vaccine deployment lead Dr Emily Lawson and Dr June Raine (right), chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

Scottish chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith (pictured) and his Welsh counterpart Dr Frank Atherton were also knighted for services to public health

Scottish chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith (pictured) and his Welsh counterpart Dr Frank Atherton were also knighted for services to public health

Scottish chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith (pictured) and his Welsh counterpart Dr Frank Atherton were also knighted for services to public health

He was already a knight bachelor – the standard level of knighthood – after being honoured in 2019. He said last night he was ‘pleased to see so many outstanding scientists and engineers recognised’.

Chief medical officer Professor Whitty, 55, is also made a knight commander of the Order of the Bath.

Sir Trevor, the equalities tsar

Trvor Phillips, 62, was the founding chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was previously the head of the Commission for Racial Equality

Trvor Phillips, 62, was the founding chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was previously the head of the Commission for Racial Equality

Trvor Phillips, 62, was the founding chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was previously the head of the Commission for Racial Equality

Broadcaster and former government equalities tsar Trevor Phillips has been knighted for services to human rights.

Mr Phillips, 62, was the founding chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was previously the head of the Commission for Racial Equality.

The presenter – who has fronted Sky News’ Sunday morning programme while Sophy Ridge is on maternity leave – has highlighted the lack of diversity at the highest levels of politics, business and the media.

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His deputy, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, 57, becomes a knight bachelor.

Dr Jenny Harries, 63, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, will become a dame for services to health. Damehoods also go to NHS England vaccine deployment lead Dr Emily Lawson and Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. 

Scottish chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith and his Welsh counterpart Dr Frank Atherton were also knighted for services to public health.

The pandemic dominated the list, with 207 people honoured for services ‘during Covid-19’ and 17 specifically for ‘services to the Covid-19 response’.

Vaccine developers around the world were also rewarded in the overseas and international list for helping give Britain one of best jab rollouts on the planet.

American Pfizer chief development officer Rod MacKenzie and German BioNTech chief business and commercial officer Sean Marett are both made Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to vaccine development and distribution. 

Moderna chief development officer Melanie Ivarsson, who is also American, receives an OBE.

In Britain, Mohammed Aziz, Boots director of healthcare services, is awarded an OBE for providing testing for Covid.

Major supermarket chiefs were awarded for keeping supply chains running. 

Former Asda chief executive Roger Burnley, 55, and Co-Op chief executive Steven Murrells, 56, both received CBEs, while Morrisons supply chain manager Angela Johnson got an MBE.

Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, 72, who is made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, said this year’s honours list was a ‘recognition of the importance’ of science.

Away from the pandemic, former Labour MP Frank Field, 79, joined Sir Paul in being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. Lord Field of Birkenhead, who has been a politician for 40 years, said: ‘It’s a terrific privilege.’

Tory former ministers Robert Buckland and Caroline Dinenage are also in line for honours.

Ex-justice secretary Mr Buckland, who was sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle in September to make way for Dominic Raab, is made a knight.

Gosport MP Miss Dinenage, who was ousted as minister of state for digital and culture, is made a dame.

Government sources insisted the honours were for their ministerial service, rather than a consolation for being sacked.

Roger Burnley

Roger Burnley

Steven Murrells

Steven Murrells

Major supermarket chiefs were awarded for keeping supply chains running. Former Asda chief executive Roger Burnley (left), 55, and Co-Op chief executive Steven Murrells (right), 56, both received CBEs, while Morrisons supply chain manager Angela Johnson got an MBE

Away from the pandemic, former Labour MP Frank Field (above), 79, joined Sir Paul in being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. Lord Field of Birkenhead, who has been a politician for 40 years, said: 'It's a terrific privilege'

Away from the pandemic, former Labour MP Frank Field (above), 79, joined Sir Paul in being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. Lord Field of Birkenhead, who has been a politician for 40 years, said: 'It's a terrific privilege'

Away from the pandemic, former Labour MP Frank Field (above), 79, joined Sir Paul in being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. Lord Field of Birkenhead, who has been a politician for 40 years, said: ‘It’s a terrific privilege’

Robert Buckland

Robert Buckland

Caroline Dinenage

Caroline Dinenage

Tory former ministers Robert Buckland (left) and Caroline Dinenage (right) are also in line for honours. Ex-justice secretary Mr Buckland, who was sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle in September to make way for Dominic Raab, is made a knight. Gosport MP Miss Dinenage, who was ousted as minister of state for digital and culture, is made a dame

Regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, the 84-year-old has become Dame Vanessa in recognition of her services to drama

Regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, the 84-year-old has become Dame Vanessa in recognition of her services to drama

Regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, the 84-year-old has become Dame Vanessa in recognition of her services to drama

At 84, Vanessa Redgrave decides there’s nothing like a damehood

By ELEANOR SHARPLES for the Daily Mail 

She is a lifelong socialist and turned down a damehood in 1999 as she objected to any honour linked to the ‘British Empire’.

But Vanessa Redgrave appears to have overcome her qualms as she today accepts the award in the New Year Honours List.

Regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, the 84-year-old has become Dame Vanessa in recognition of her services to drama.

Other actors honoured today include former Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, who has also been made a dame.

Dame Vanessa, who won an Oscar for her role in the 1977 film Julia, was previously honoured in 1967 when she was given a CBE. 

Questioned about reports that she had turned down a damehood, she said in 2002: ‘My difficulty is in receiving anything that says British Empire because I am a Unicef special representative at the service of children from any country. If there were no mention of the British Empire, I would be as honoured as anybody. ‘

At a press conference at the Venice Film Festival in 2018, the actress claimed that she had declined the damehood in protest at the Iraq War and former prime minister Tony Blair.

But the Iraq War did not start until 2003. Dame Vanessa said at the time that she would ‘never say I refused an honour from the Queen’. But she added: ‘But I could not and would not accept any honour from Mr Blair, when he has taken our country, and so many people, to war on the basis of a lie.’

Dame Joanna, 75, who was awarded an OBE in 1995, has been honoured for her services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes. She said: ‘I am astonished and thrilled and touched beyond words…’

The actress, known for roles in The New Avengers and as the boozy Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous, has also made a name for herself fighting for the rights of Gurkhas to settle in the UK.

Meanwhile, actor Daniel Craig, 53, whose final film as 007, No Time to Die, was released this autumn, was given the rare honour of being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) – the same award given to Bond in Ian Fleming’s novels. A CMG is normally given to those who have performed extraordinary services abroad.

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley

Mel B

Mel B

Other actors honoured today include former Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley (left), who has also been made a dame. Elsewhere, Melanie Brown (right), 46, of the Spice Girls, better known as Mel B, has been made an MBE for her work with domestic violence charity Women’s Aid

Actor Daniel Craig, 53, whose final film as 007, No Time to Die, was released this autumn, was given the rare honour of being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) – the same award given to Bond in Ian Fleming's novels. A CMG is normally given to those who have performed extraordinary services abroad

Actor Daniel Craig, 53, whose final film as 007, No Time to Die, was released this autumn, was given the rare honour of being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) – the same award given to Bond in Ian Fleming's novels. A CMG is normally given to those who have performed extraordinary services abroad

Actor Daniel Craig, 53, whose final film as 007, No Time to Die, was released this autumn, was given the rare honour of being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) – the same award given to Bond in Ian Fleming’s novels. A CMG is normally given to those who have performed extraordinary services abroad

The movies’ producer, Barbara Broccoli, 61, was awarded a CBE for services to film, as was her half-brother, Bond producer and scriptwriter Michael Wilson, 79.

There were also CBEs for film director Paul Greengrass, 66, who created the rival Jason Bourne movies, and author Anthony Horowitz, also 66, who has written three Bond novels. Other stars to be recognised include newsreader Moira Stuart, who has been given a CBE.

Sir Elton John’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin, 71, was also awarded a CBE in the overseas and international list for his work in music.

Coronation Street’s William Roache, 89, who appeared in the show’s very first episode as Ken Barlow in December 1960, has been awarded an OBE for his services to drama and charity. 

Cherylee Houston, 47, who played wheelchair user Izzy Armstrong in the soap, has been given an MBE for her work in drama and for people with disabilities.

William Roache

William Roache

Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin

Coronation Street’s William Roache (left), 89, who appeared in the show’s very first episode as Ken Barlow in December 1960, has been awarded an OBE for his services to drama and charity. Sir Elton John’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin (right), 71, was also awarded a CBE in the overseas and international list for his work in music

Former EastEnders stars June Brown, 94, who played Dot Cotton, and Nitin Ganatra, 54, who appeared as Masood Ahmed, were both given OBEs.

Elsewhere, Melanie Brown, 46, of the Spice Girls, better known as Mel B, has been made an MBE for her work with domestic violence charity Women’s Aid.

Film director John Boorman, 88, whose movies include 1967’s Point Blank, is knighted, while Alistair Spalding, 64, boss of Sadler’s Wells Theatre, has also received one for his work in dance. Ashley Banjo, 33, of Britain’s Got Talent-winning dance troupe Diversity, was also awarded an MBE for services to dance.

Television presenter Katie Piper, 38, who survived an acid attack in 2008 and went on to found The Katie Piper Foundation, is awarded an OBE for her services to charity and victims of disfigurement injuries.

Australian comedian Adam Hills, 51, who hosts Channel 4’s The Last Leg, is made an MBE for services to Paralympic sport and disability awareness.

And Pauline Black, 68, lead singer of two-tone band The Selecter, has been made an OBE for services to entertainment.

Youngest awarded at 11… and the oldest at 102

The youngest ever recipient of a New Year Honour said he was ‘chuffed to bits’ and cannot wait to pick up his award.

Tobias Weller, 11, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the pandemic. 

He raised over £157,000 by completing three challenges. After receiving his British Empire Medal, Tobias, of Sheffield, said: ‘My mum told me about the honour on Christmas Day and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m actually going to get an honour from Her Majesty the Queen’.’

Meanwhile, Henry Lewis was the oldest on the list at 102. The honorary vice president of magician’s society The Magic Circle received an MBE for services to fundraising and charitable causes.

The youngest ever recipient of a New Year Honour said he was 'chuffed to bits' and cannot wait to pick up his award. Tobias Weller, 11, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the pandemic

The youngest ever recipient of a New Year Honour said he was 'chuffed to bits' and cannot wait to pick up his award. Tobias Weller, 11, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the pandemic

The youngest ever recipient of a New Year Honour said he was ‘chuffed to bits’ and cannot wait to pick up his award. Tobias Weller, 11, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the pandemic

Henry Lewis was the oldest on the list at 102. The honorary vice president of magician's society The Magic Circle received an MBE for services to fundraising and charitable causes

Henry Lewis was the oldest on the list at 102. The honorary vice president of magician's society The Magic Circle received an MBE for services to fundraising and charitable causes

Henry Lewis was the oldest on the list at 102. The honorary vice president of magician’s society The Magic Circle received an MBE for services to fundraising and charitable causes

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Another first for golden couple Laura and Jason

By ANDY JEHRING for the Daily Mail

Olympic champions Laura and Jason Kenny are the first husband and wife ever to be made knight and dame in the same honours list – while an MBE completes a fairytale year for Emma Raducanu.

The Kennys now have another accolade to add to their Olympic titles after receiving the awards for services to cycling.

Kenny, 33, drew level with Sir Bradley Wiggins’ record of eight medals when he picked up a silver in the team sprint at Tokyo this summer. He now has six gold and two silver medals, while his wife, 29, has five gold medals and one silver. 

Olympic champions Laura and Jason Kenny are the first husband and wife ever to be made knight and dame in the same honours list

Olympic champions Laura and Jason Kenny are the first husband and wife ever to be made knight and dame in the same honours list

Olympic champions Laura and Jason Kenny are the first husband and wife ever to be made knight and dame in the same honours list

The Kennys now have another accolade to add to their Olympic titles after receiving the awards for services to cycling

The Kennys now have another accolade to add to their Olympic titles after receiving the awards for services to cycling

The Kennys now have another accolade to add to their Olympic titles after receiving the awards for services to cycling

The couple, who have a four-year-old son, Albie, said they were ‘humbled and also very proud’ last night, and thanked the ‘whole team of people behind us’.

Tennis sensation Miss Raducanu, 19, caps off a dazzling breakthrough year with an MBE to add to her BBC Sports Personality of the Year and US Open win in New York. ‘It makes me immensely proud and grateful,’ she said. ‘This year has been full of amazing surprises for me so to end 2021 with this appointment is very special.’

Diver Tom Daley, 27, picks up an OBE for services to LGBTQ+ rights, while fellow swimmer and Strictly Come Dancing star Adam Peaty, also 27, also got an OBE.

Paralympian Lauren Steadman, 29, another Strictly star, is awarded an MBE while seven-time Paralympic sprint champion Hannah Cockcroft, 29, is made an OBE. They are among 78 athletes honoured following their success at Tokyo 2020.

Tennis sensation Emma Raducanu, 19, caps off a dazzling breakthrough year with an MBE to add to her BBC Sports Personality of the Year and US Open win in New York

Tennis sensation Emma Raducanu, 19, caps off a dazzling breakthrough year with an MBE to add to her BBC Sports Personality of the Year and US Open win in New York

Tennis sensation Emma Raducanu, 19, caps off a dazzling breakthrough year with an MBE to add to her BBC Sports Personality of the Year and US Open win in New York

Paralympian Lauren Steadman, 29, another Strictly star, is awarded an MBE

Paralympian Lauren Steadman, 29, another Strictly star, is awarded an MBE

Paralympian Lauren Steadman, 29, another Strictly star, is awarded an MBE

Diver Tom Daley, 27, picks up an OBE for services to LGBTQ+ rights

Diver Tom Daley, 27, picks up an OBE for services to LGBTQ+ rights

Diver Tom Daley, 27, picks up an OBE for services to LGBTQ+ rights

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis receives a CBE

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has been made a CBE in the latest New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting and consumer rights

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has been made a CBE in the latest New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting and consumer rights

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has been made a CBE in the latest New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting and consumer rights

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has been made a CBE in the latest New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting and consumer rights.

But the finance expert said he almost missed out after Buckingham Palace sent his nomination to an old address.

He said: ‘I was genuinely very surprised. I knew some people had nominated me but it was way past the time when you’re supposed to receive a letter.

‘I then found out they had sent the letter to an old address and when I hadn’t responded they got in touch, so I was properly gobsmacked.’

The founder of the Money Saving Expert website added: ‘The timing of this is pertinent and I’m not surprised because it’s been a difficult couple of years for everyone.’

It comes after a period in which he got to grips with helping households and businesses navigate the pandemic and ensuring people could claim what they were entitled to under various Government support schemes.

He said: ‘I had to learn quite a lot in a short time in helping to communicate to the public what help they could get and where they needed to seek it, along with communicating with the Government to point out the holes in what they were offering, and, let’s be clear, there are holes.’

Asked whether he thinks the latest honour, which follows an OBE in 2014, will lead him to be less critical of the Government, he said he will not let up his campaigning.

‘Whilst I do not have an axe to grind with any political party, I will grind my axe over specific issues. I was grinding my axe after I got my OBE in 2014 and I hope to be grinding my axe until my hair is white.’

The broadcaster added: ‘Now my hope is all our lives soon return to normal, and my little girl, who was just a baby when I got presented (with) the OBE, can this time join my wife and I, when I get to receive this priceless honour.’

Mr Lewis is also founder of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity, and presenter of the Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV.

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Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, is appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry

Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, is appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry

Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, is appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry

Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair is made a Sir in the New Year Honours list, 14 years after leaving office

By REBECCA ENGLISH for the Daily Mail and NICK ENOCH for MailOnline 

Tony Blair has been appointed to the Order of the Garter as a Knight Companion.

The decision to ennoble the former prime minister – or Sir Tony, as he will now be known – has been much debated in recent years.

All but one of the prime ministers before him were appointed a few years after leaving office. But Sir Tony waited over 14 years.

It had been suggested that the Queen‘s strained relationship with him during his ten years in power may have contributed to the ‘snub’.

Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, is appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

The appointment, which is made by the Queen, has regularly been bestowed upon past prime ministers, with Sir John Major, Sir Tony’s predecessor, the last to receive the honour.

Sir Tony, a former Labour leader, said: ‘It is an immense honour to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen.

‘It was a great privilege to serve as prime minister and I would like to thank all those who served alongside me, in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country.’

Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory in 1997, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister.

The decision to ennoble the former prime minister – or Sir Tony, as he will now be known – has been much debated in recent years. All but one of the prime ministers before him were appointed a few years after leaving office. But Sir Tony waited over 14 years. It had been suggested that the Queen's strained relationship with him during his ten years in power may have contributed to the 'snub'. (He is pictured with the Queen in 2005)

The decision to ennoble the former prime minister – or Sir Tony, as he will now be known – has been much debated in recent years. All but one of the prime ministers before him were appointed a few years after leaving office. But Sir Tony waited over 14 years. It had been suggested that the Queen's strained relationship with him during his ten years in power may have contributed to the 'snub'. (He is pictured with the Queen in 2005)

The decision to ennoble the former prime minister – or Sir Tony, as he will now be known – has been much debated in recent years. All but one of the prime ministers before him were appointed a few years after leaving office. But Sir Tony waited over 14 years. It had been suggested that the Queen’s strained relationship with him during his ten years in power may have contributed to the ‘snub’. (He is pictured with the Queen in 2005)

Tony and Cherie Blair embrace in front of No 10 Downing Street after the Labour Leader was elected Prime Minister in 1997. Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory that year, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister

Tony and Cherie Blair embrace in front of No 10 Downing Street after the Labour Leader was elected Prime Minister in 1997. Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory that year, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister

Tony and Cherie Blair embrace in front of No 10 Downing Street after the Labour Leader was elected Prime Minister in 1997. Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory that year, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister

The 68-year-old famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the ‘people’s princess’ after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The former barrister became a Middle East envoy and set up his own non-for-profit group, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, after leaving politics.

Each year, Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony.

Watched by crowds of onlookers, they walk down the hill to the chapel from the State Apartments, dressed in blue velvet mantles, red velvet hoods, black velvet hats and white ostrich plumes.

Sir Tony, who left Downing Street more than 14 years ago, is one of three new appointments announced by the palace.

Tony Blair with George W. Bush in 2006. Blair, 68, famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the 'people's princess' after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan

Tony Blair with George W. Bush in 2006. Blair, 68, famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the 'people's princess' after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan

Tony Blair with George W. Bush in 2006. Blair, 68, famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the ‘people’s princess’ after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan

Appointments to the Garter are in the Queen’s gift and made without prime ministerial advice, and are usually announced on St George’s Day, April 23, but the monarch can do so at any time, and has chosen to coincide with the New Year’s Honours.

They are for life unless a Knight or Lady Companion offends against certain ‘points of reproach’.

Founded in 1348 by Edward III, the Garter is awarded by the sovereign for outstanding public service and achievement.

It is said to have been inspired by events at a ball in northern France, attended by the king and Joan, Countess of Salisbury.

The countess is believed to have dropped her garter, causing laughter and some embarrassment.

The chivalrous king, however, picked it up and wore it on his own leg, uttering the phrase ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ – ‘Shame on him who thinks this evil’ – now the Order’s motto.

The Order’s emblem is a blue ribbon or garter worn by men below the left knee and by women on the left arm.

There are now 21 non-royal companions in the order out of a maximum of 24.

Camilla wins the highest approval the Queen can bestow: Duchess of Cornwall joins the elite Order of the Garter ‘for services to the sovereign’ after years of loyalty and discretion

By REBECCA ENGLISH for the Daily Mail 

The Queen is personally awarding the Duchess of Cornwall the highest honour possible thanks to her ‘service to the sovereign’, it was announced last night.

Camilla is to be made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior of the Orders of Chivalry in Britain, Buckingham Palace said.

The appointment will be seen as a royal seal of approval for the loyalty and discretion Camilla has shown since her marriage to the Prince of Wales in 2005.

The Queen is personally awarding the Duchess of Cornwall the highest honour possible thanks to her 'service to the sovereign', it was announced last night

The Queen is personally awarding the Duchess of Cornwall the highest honour possible thanks to her 'service to the sovereign', it was announced last night

The Queen is personally awarding the Duchess of Cornwall the highest honour possible thanks to her ‘service to the sovereign’, it was announced last night

Camilla is to be made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior of the Orders of Chivalry in Britain, Buckingham Palace said. The appointment will be seen as a royal seal of approval for the loyalty and discretion Camilla has shown since her marriage to the Prince of Wales (above) in 2005

Camilla is to be made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior of the Orders of Chivalry in Britain, Buckingham Palace said. The appointment will be seen as a royal seal of approval for the loyalty and discretion Camilla has shown since her marriage to the Prince of Wales (above) in 2005

Camilla is to be made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior of the Orders of Chivalry in Britain, Buckingham Palace said. The appointment will be seen as a royal seal of approval for the loyalty and discretion Camilla has shown since her marriage to the Prince of Wales (above) in 2005

It will spark renewed speculation that the 95-year-old monarch may yet endorse Camilla to be Queen when she dies and Prince Charles accedes to the throne

It will spark renewed speculation that the 95-year-old monarch may yet endorse Camilla to be Queen when she dies and Prince Charles accedes to the throne

It will spark renewed speculation that the 95-year-old monarch may yet endorse Camilla to be Queen when she dies and Prince Charles accedes to the throne

Clarence House says the 'intention' is for the duchess to become Princess Consort, showing sensitivity to previously negative public opinion over Camilla's role in the breakdown of Charles and Diana's marriage

Clarence House says the 'intention' is for the duchess to become Princess Consort, showing sensitivity to previously negative public opinion over Camilla's role in the breakdown of Charles and Diana's marriage

Clarence House says the ‘intention’ is for the duchess to become Princess Consort, showing sensitivity to previously negative public opinion over Camilla’s role in the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage

It will spark renewed speculation that the 95-year-old monarch may yet endorse Camilla to be Queen when she dies and Prince Charles accedes to the throne.

Clarence House says the ‘intention’ is for the duchess to become Princess Consort, showing sensitivity to previously negative public opinion over Camilla’s role in the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage.

But Charles has never made any secret of his desire for Camilla to become queen by his side. 

And it is known that the Queen has been impressed by the way in which her daughter-in-law has embraced her public role and shown quiet and respectful dedication to both her husband and the institution of the monarchy.

It was also revealed that Baroness Amos is to be made a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter – the first person from an ethnic minority to be appointed.

She is a Labour politician and diplomat who has served as UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and British High Commissioner to Australia.

It was also revealed that Baroness Amos (above) is to be made a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter – the first person from an ethnic minority to be appointed. She is a Labour politician and diplomat who has served as UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and British High Commissioner to Australia

It was also revealed that Baroness Amos (above) is to be made a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter – the first person from an ethnic minority to be appointed. She is a Labour politician and diplomat who has served as UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and British High Commissioner to Australia

It was also revealed that Baroness Amos (above) is to be made a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter – the first person from an ethnic minority to be appointed. She is a Labour politician and diplomat who has served as UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and British High Commissioner to Australia

She was also Leader of the House of Lords and the chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The Order of the Garter was established by King Edward III in 1348 after he was inspired by the tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table.

The number of Knights and Ladies Companion is limited to 24 in total at any one time. 

There is no limit to the number of royal members, however. Initially, the order’s members were limited to the aristocracy but they are now men and women chosen from a variety of backgrounds, in recognition for their public service, their contribution to national life, or their personal service to the sovereign.

The honour is personally bestowed by the monarch, with no interference from the Government.

The patron saint of the order is St George and the spiritual home is St George’s Chapel at Windsor. 

Its motto is ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’, Old French for ‘shame on him who thinks evil of it’. Vacancies are announced on St George’s Day and only occasionally at New Year. It is thought that the Queen wanted this year’s announcement to tie in with the New Year’s Honours.

Prince Philip was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Garter by King George VI in 1947 – and it is believed that the Queen also wanted to ensure that both her son and his wife were members before her own change of reign.

A Garter Day procession is held each June before a short service in St George’s Chapel, at which any new companions are installed.

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