Order of the Companions of Honour
|Order of the Companions of Honour|
Riband and badge of the "Companions of Honour"
|Awarded by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms
|Motto||In Action Faithful and in Honour Clear|
|Awarded for||Nationally important service|
|Sovereign||Queen Elizabeth II|
Ribbon bar of the order
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded in 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."
Founded on the same date as the Order of the British Empire, it is sometimes regarded as the junior order to the Order of Merit. Now described as "awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time", the first recipients, were all decorated for "services in connection with the war" and were listed in the London Gazette in August 1917 with the award taking effect from 4 June 1917.
The order consists of the Sovereign plus no more than 65 members. Additionally, foreigners 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. For Canadians, the advice to the Sovereign can come from a variety of officials.
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 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.
While able to nominate candidates to the Order, New Zealand and Australia have effectively stopped the allocation of this award to their citizens in preference to their national awards. As of 2016 those countries have nominated only politicians who have served as Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister.
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.
- Queen Elizabeth II
|Member number[n 1]||Name||Post-nominals||Known for||Date of appointment||Age|
|01 (237)||Sir Michael Somare||GCL, GCMG, CH, PC, MP||Former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea||3 June 1978||80|
|02 (246)||Doug Anthony||AC, CH, PC||Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia||31 December 1981||87|
|03 (249)||The Lord Carrington||KG, GCMG, CH, MC, PC, DL||Politician||11 June 1983||97|
|04 (265)||Sydney Brenner||CH, FRS, FMedSci||Biologist||31 December 1986||90|
|05 (267)||The Lord Tebbit||CH, PC||Politician||31 July 1987||85|
|06 (269)||Stephen Hawking||CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA||Physicist||17 June 1989||75|
|07 (270)||The Lord Baker of Dorking||CH, PC||Politician||13 April 1992||82|
|08 (271)||The Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville||CH, PC||Politician||13 April 1992||82|
|09 (278)||The Lord King of Bridgwater||CH, PC||Politician||13 April 1992||83|
|10 (282)||Dame Janet Baker||CH, DBE||Opera singer||31 December 1993||83|
|11 (287)||The Lord Owen||CH, PC||Politician||11 June 1994||78|
|12 (289)||Sir David Attenborough||OM, CH, CVO, CBE||Broadcaster and naturalist||30 December 1995||90|
|13 (291)||The Lord Hurd of Westwell||CH, CBE, PC||Politician||30 December 1995||86|
|14 (294)||David Hockney||OM, CH||Artist||14 June 1997||79|
|15 (296)||The Lord Heseltine||CH, PC||Politician||2 August 1997||83|
|16 (297)||The Lord Patten of Barnes||CH, PC||Politician and former Governor of Hong Kong||31 December 1997||72|
|17 (298)||Peter Brook||CH, CBE||Theatre director||13 June 1998||91|
|18 (299)||Sir John Major||KG, CH, PC||Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom||31 December 1998||73|
|19 (300)||Bridget Riley||CH, CBE||Artist||31 December 1998||85|
|20 (305)||John de Chastelain||CC, CMM, CD, CH||Canadian general and diplomat||31 December 1998||79|
|21 (311)||Sir Harrison Birtwistle||CH||Composer||30 December 2000||82|
|22 (312)||Sir Michael Howard||OM, CH, CBE, MC, FBA||Historian||15 June 2002||94|
|23 (313)||Sir Howard Hodgkin||CH, CBE||Artist||31 December 2002||84|
|24 (316)||James Lovelock||CH, CBE, FRS||Scientist and environmentalist||31 December 2002||97|
|25 (317)||Dan McKenzie||CH, FRS||Geophysicist||14 June 2003||74|
|26 (318)||The Lord Hannay of Chiswick||GCMG, CH||Diplomat||14 June 2003||71|
|27 (320)||Dame Judi Dench||CH, DBE||Actress||11 June 2005||82|
|28 (321)||Sir Ian McKellen||CH, CBE||Actor||31 December 2007||77|
|29 (322)||The Lord Rogers of Riverside||CH||Architect||14 June 2008||83|
|30 (323)||The Lord Howard of Lympne||CH, QC, PC||Politician||11 June 2011||75|
|31 (324)||The Lord Young of Cookham||Bt, CH, PC||Politician||20 September 2012||75|
|32 (325)||The Lord Coe||CH, KBE||Athlete, politician, organiser of 2012 Olympics||29 December 2012||60|
|33 (326)||Peter Higgs||CH, FRS||Physicist||29 December 2012||87|
|34 (327)||The Lord Strathclyde||CH, PC||Politician||7 January 2013||56|
|35 (328)||The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem||CH, CBE, PC, QC||Politician||15 June 2013||75|
|36 (329)||Sir Nicholas Serota||CH||Museum curator||15 June 2013||70|
|37 (331)||The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve||CH, CBE, FBA, FRS, FMedSci||Philosopher||31 December 2013||75|
|38 (332)||Dame Maggie Smith||CH, DBE||Actress||14 June 2014||82|
|39 (333)||Kenneth Clarke||CH, QC, PC, MP||Politician||22 July 2014||76|
|40 (334)||The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon||GCMG, CH, KBE, PC||Politician||1 January 2015||75|
|41 (336)||Dame Mary Peters||CH, DBE||Athlete||1 January 2015||77|
|42 (337)||The Lord Young of Graffham||CH, PC, DL||Politician||1 January 2015||84|
|43 (339)||The Lord Woolf||CH, PC, FBA, FMedSci||Judge||12 June 2015||83|
|44 (341)||Sir Roy Strong||CH, FRSL||Art historian, museum director||1 January 2016||81|
|45 (342)||Dame Vera Lynn||CH, DBE||Singer||11 June 2016||99|
|46 (343)||The Lord Smith of Kelvin||KT, CH||Businessman||11 June 2016||72|
|47 (344)||The Baroness Amos||CH, PC||Politician and diplomat||11 June 2016||62|
|48 (345)||George Osborne||CH, PC, MP||Politician||4 August 2016||45|
|49 (346)||Sir Roger Bannister||CH, CBE||Athlete, physician and academic||31 December 2016||87|
|50 (347)||Sir Richard Eyre||CH, CBE||Director||31 December 2016||73|
|51 (348)||Dame Evelyn Glennie||CH, DBE||Percussionist||31 December 2016||51|
|52 (349)||Sir Alec Jeffreys||CH, FRS||Geneticist||31 December 2016||67|
|53 (350)||The Baroness Warnock||CH, DBE, FBA, FMedSci||Philosopher||31 December 2016||92|
|54 (351)||The Baroness Williams of Crosby||CH, PC||Politician||31 December 2016||86|
|Member number||Name||Post-nominals||Known for||Date of appointment||Age|
|1 (261)||Amartya Sen||CH||Economist||11 May 2000||83|
|2 (304)||Bernard Haitink||CH, KBE||Conductor||12 June 2002||87|
|3 (340)||Desmond Tutu||CH||Social rights activist and clergyman||30 November 2015||85|
- List of Members of the Order of the Companions of Honour
- List of honorary British Knights
- List of people who have declined a British honour
- The number shown in brackets is the individual's place in the wider sequence of appointment since the Order's inception.
- "A New Order". The Times. 25 August 1917. p. 7. (subscription required (. ))
- "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.
- "The honours system: Types of honours and awards". UK Government. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- The London Gazette: . 24 August 1917.
- McCreery, Christopher (2005a). The Canadian Honours System. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-55002-554-5.
- Rayment, Leigh. "Companions of Honour". Retrieved 7 December 2013.