LONDON – Stella McCartney, who designed the uniforms worn by Britain’s record-smashing Olympic team, and Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who gave his name to the so-called God particle, are among the hundreds being honored by Queen Elizabeth II this New Year.
The list is particularly heavy with Britain’s Olympic heroes, but it also includes Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, eccentric English singer Kate Bush, Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake, and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the royal aide who helped organize the watched-around-the-world wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.
McCartney was honored with the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Higgs’ achievements, which made him a Companion of Honor, touch on the nature and the origins of the universe. The 83-year-old researcher’s work in theoretical physics sought to explain what gives things weight.
All of Britain’s gold medalists from this year’s games were on the list, with cyclist Bradley Wiggins and sailor Ben Ainslie honored with knighthoods.
Sebastian Coe, who masterminded the games as chairman of the London organizing committee, was made a Companion of Honor. But Ken Livingstone, London’s former mayor, said Saturday he turned down a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, recognizing his services to the Olympics because he doesn’t believe politicians should get the queen’s honors.
McGregor was awarded an OBE.
Babooshka singer Kate Bush said she was delighted to be made a CBE.
Politicians, policemen, and spies got honors too. Scotland Yard chief Bernard Hogan-Howe was awarded a knighthood; former British foreign minister Margaret Beckett was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, was made a CBE for her charity work. MI5 chief Jonathan Evans was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath.
Also honored was the man credited with helping pull off the wedding of the decade: Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, principal private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (as Prince William and his wife are formally known) was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.
In descending order, the honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire. Knights are addressed as sir or dame. Recipients of the other honors receive no title.
The New Year’s honors carried the usual batch of courtiers – even the royal household’s switchboard operator got a medal – as well as senior civil servants, soldiers, charity executives, successful entrepreneurs, established academics, volunteers, and community workers.