Order of the Companions of Honour

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Order of the Companions of Honour
Companion of Honour.jpg
Riband and badge of the "Companions of Honour"
Awarded by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms
TypeOrder
Established4 June 1917
MottoIn Action Faithful and in Honour Clear
Awarded forNationally important service
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
GradesCompanion (CH)
Order of the Companions of Honour Ribbon.gif
Ribbon bar of the order
Lord Tweedsmuir, as Governor General of Canada, wearing the Companion of Honour badge around his neck

The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded on 4 June 1917 by King George V as a reward for outstanding achievements and is "conferred upon a limited number of persons for whom this special distinction seems to be the most appropriate form of recognition, constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit."[1]

Founded on the same date as the Order of the British Empire,[1] it is sometimes regarded as the junior order to the Order of Merit.[2] Now described as "awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time",[3] the first recipients, were all decorated for "services in connection with the war" and were listed in The London Gazette.[4] The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court is now the Chapel of the Order.[5]

Composition[edit]

The order consists of the Sovereign and a maximum 65 members. Additionally, foreigners or Commonwealth citizens from outside the realms may be added as honorary members. Membership confers no title or precedence, but those inducted into the single-class order are entitled to use the post-nominal letters CH. Appointments can be made on the advice of Commonwealth realm prime ministers.[2] For Canadians, the advice to the Sovereign can come from a variety of officials.[6]

Originally, the order was limited to 50 ordinary members, but in 1943 it was enlarged to 65, with a quota of 45 members for the United Kingdom, seven for Australia, two each for New Zealand and South Africa, and 9 for India, Burma, and the other British colonies. The quota numbers were altered in 1970 to 47 for the United Kingdom, 7 for Australia, 2 for New Zealand, and 9 for other Commonwealth realms. The quota was adjusted again in 1975 by adding 2 places to the New Zealand quota and reducing the 9 for the other countries to 7.[7]

While still able to nominate candidates to the Order, Australia has effectively stopped the allocation of this award to their citizens in preference to its national awards. Margaret MacMillan, a Canadian historian, was given the award in 2017. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a New Zealand soprano, was given the award in 2018. Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author, was appointed in 2019.

Insignia[edit]

The insignia of the order is in the form of an oval medallion, surmounted by an imperial crown, and with a rectangular panel within, depicting on it an oak tree, a shield with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom hanging from one branch, and, on the left, a mounted knight in armour. The insignia's blue border bears in gold letters the motto IN ACTION FAITHFUL AND IN HONOUR CLEAR, Alexander Pope's description (in iambic pentameter) in his Epistle to Mr Addison of James Craggs, later used on Craggs' monument in Westminster Abbey. Men wear the badge on a neck ribbon (red with golden border threads) and women on a bow at the left shoulder.

Current Companions[edit]

Member number[n 1] Name Post-nominals Known for Date of appointment Age
01 (237) Papua New Guinea Sir Michael Somare GCL, GCMG, CH, PC Former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 3 June 1978 83
02 (246) Australia Doug Anthony AC, CH, PC Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia 31 December 1981 89
03 (267) United Kingdom The Lord Tebbit CH, PC Politician 31 July 1987 88
04 (270) United Kingdom The Lord Baker of Dorking CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 84
05 (271) United Kingdom The Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 85
06 (278) United Kingdom The Lord King of Bridgwater CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 86
07 (282) United Kingdom Dame Janet Baker CH, DBE Opera singer 31 December 1993 85
08 (287) United Kingdom The Lord Owen CH, PC Politician 11 June 1994 81
09 (289) United Kingdom Sir David Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE Broadcaster and naturalist 30 December 1995 93
10 (291) United Kingdom The Lord Hurd of Westwell CH, CBE, PC Politician 30 December 1995 89
11 (294) United Kingdom David Hockney OM, CH Artist 14 June 1997 82
12 (296) United Kingdom The Lord Heseltine CH, PC Politician 2 August 1997 86
13 (297) United Kingdom The Lord Patten of Barnes CH, PC Politician and former Governor of Hong Kong 31 December 1997 75
14 (298) United Kingdom Peter Brook CH, CBE Theatre director 13 June 1998 94
15 (299) United Kingdom Sir John Major KG, CH, PC Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 31 December 1998 76
16 (300) United Kingdom Bridget Riley CH, CBE Artist 31 December 1998 88
17 (305) Canada John de Chastelain CC, CMM, CD, CH Canadian general and diplomat 31 December 1998 81
18 (311) United Kingdom Sir Harrison Birtwistle CH Composer 30 December 2000 85
19 (312) United Kingdom Sir Michael Howard OM, CH, CBE, MC, FBA Historian 15 June 2002 96
20 (316) United Kingdom James Lovelock CH, CBE, FRS Scientist and environmentalist 31 December 2002 99
21 (317) United Kingdom Dan McKenzie CH, FRS Geophysicist 14 June 2003 77
22 (318) United Kingdom The Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG, CH Diplomat 14 June 2003 73
23 (320) United Kingdom Dame Judi Dench CH, DBE Actress 11 June 2005 84
24 (321) United Kingdom Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE Actor 31 December 2007 80
25 (322) United Kingdom The Lord Rogers of Riverside CH, FRIBA, FREng, RA Architect 14 June 2008 85
26 (323) United Kingdom The Lord Howard of Lympne CH, QC, PC Politician 11 June 2011 78
27 (324) United Kingdom The Lord Young of Cookham Bt, CH, PC Politician 20 September 2012 78
28 (325) United Kingdom The Lord Coe CH, KBE Athlete, politician, organiser of 2012 Olympics 29 December 2012 62
29 (326) United Kingdom Peter Higgs CH, FRS Physicist 29 December 2012 90
30 (327) United Kingdom The Lord Strathclyde CH, PC Politician 7 January 2013 59
31 (328) United Kingdom The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH, CBE, PC, QC Politician 15 June 2013 78
32 (329) United Kingdom Sir Nicholas Serota CH Curator 15 June 2013 73
33 (331) United Kingdom The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve CH, CBE, FBA, FRS, FMedSci Philosopher 31 December 2013 77
34 (332) United Kingdom Dame Maggie Smith CH, DBE Actress 14 June 2014 84
35 (333) United Kingdom Kenneth Clarke CH, QC, PC, MP Politician 22 July 2014 79
36 (336) United Kingdom Lady Mary Peters LG, CH, DBE Athlete 1 January 2015 80
37 (337) United Kingdom The Lord Young of Graffham CH, PC, DL Politician 1 January 2015 87
38 (339) United Kingdom The Lord Woolf CH, PC, FBA, FMedSci Judge 12 June 2015 86
39 (341) United Kingdom Sir Roy Strong CH, FRSL Art historian, museum director 1 January 2016 83
40 (342) United Kingdom Dame Vera Lynn CH, DBE Singer 11 June 2016 102
41 (343) United Kingdom The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT, CH Businessman 11 June 2016 74
42 (344) United Kingdom The Baroness Amos CH, PC Politician and diplomat 11 June 2016 65
43 (345) United Kingdom George Osborne CH, PC Politician and Former Chancellor of the Exchequer 4 August 2016 48
44 (347) United Kingdom Sir Richard Eyre CH, CBE Director 31 December 2016 76
45 (348) United Kingdom Dame Evelyn Glennie CH, DBE Percussionist 31 December 2016 53
46 (349) United Kingdom Sir Alec Jeffreys CH, FRS Geneticist 31 December 2016 69
47 (351) United Kingdom The Baroness Williams of Crosby CH, PC Politician 31 December 2016 88
48 (352) United Kingdom Sir Terence Conran CH Designer 17 June 2017 87
49 (353) United Kingdom Sir Mark Elder CH, CBE Conductor 17 June 2017 72
50 (354) United Kingdom Dame Beryl Grey CH, DBE Dancer 17 June 2017 92
51 (355) United Kingdom Sir Paul McCartney CH, MBE Musician 17 June 2017 77
52 (356) United Kingdom J. K. Rowling CH, OBE Author 17 June 2017 53
53 (357) United Kingdom Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, DBE, FREng Entrepreneur and philanthropist 17 June 2017 85
54 (358) United Kingdom Delia Smith CH, CBE Cook and writer 17 June 2017 78
55 (359) United Kingdom The Lord Stern of Brentford CH, FRS, FBA Economist 17 June 2017 73
56 (361) United Kingdom The Lord Bragg CH, FRS, FBA, FRSL Broadcaster 30 December 2017 79
57 (362) United Kingdom Lady Antonia Fraser CH, DBE, FRSL Author 30 December 2017 86
58 (363) Canada Margaret MacMillan CC, CH Historian 30 December 2017 75
59 (364) United Kingdom Richard Henderson CH, FRS, FMedSci Biologist 9 June 2018 73
60 (365) New Zealand Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ONZ, CH, DBE, AC Soprano 9 June 2018 75
61 (366) Canada Margaret Atwood CC, OOnt, CH, FRSC, FRSL Author 29 December 2018 79

Honorary Companions[edit]

Member number Name Post-nominals Known for Date of appointment Age
1 (261) India Amartya Sen CH, FBA Economist 11 May 2000 85
2 (304) Netherlands Bernard Haitink CH, KBE Conductor 12 June 2002 90
3 (340) South Africa Desmond Tutu CH Social rights activist and clergyman 30 November 2015 87

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The number shown in brackets is the individual's place in the wider sequence of appointment since the Order's inception.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "A New Order". The Times. 25 August 1917. p. 7.
  2. ^ a b "The Monarch of the Today > Queen Ann arbor to the new one w public > Honours > Companions of Honour". Royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  3. ^ "The honours system: Types of honours and awards". UK Government. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  4. ^ "No. 30250". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 August 1917. p. 8799.
  5. ^ http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/event/the-queen-duke-of-edinburgh-attend-evensong-in-celebration-of-the-centenary-of-the-order-of-the-companions-of-honour-700063722#dame-judi-dench-arrives-to-attend-evensong-at-the-chapel-royal-court-picture-id695723388
  6. ^ McCreery, Christopher (2005a). The Canadian Honours System. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-55002-554-5.
  7. ^ Rayment, Leigh. "Companions of Honour". Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2013.