Billy Connolly, the comedian, has been knighted in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, as he ponders changing his name to Lancelot because “Sir Billy doesn’t quite have the same ring” to it”.
Julie Walters and June Whitfield are to become dames, while June Spencer, who has played Peggy Woolley in the Archers since the show began , has been awarded a CBE.
Sir Billy admitted he is “very pleased”with the honour but had “never been big on bragging”.
“I feel like I should be called Lancelot or something,” he said. “Sir Lancelot, that would be nice. Sir Billy doesn't quite have the same ring.”
Rowling said she was “deeply honoured and proud” to be made a Companion of Honour, while Sir Paul McCartney pronounced the news “colossal”.
Raymond Briggs, the children’s author, has been awarded the CBE, while Judy Murray, Gloria Hunniford, Sarah Lancashire and Patricia Hodge will each receive OBEs.
David Walliams, OBE, said: “The news made me happy, but nobody is happier than my mum.”
Delia Smith, the chef who joins Dame Steve Shirley , Dame Beryl Grey, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Terence Conran, Lord Stern and Sir John Sulston as companions of honour, said: “From day one I received so much encouragement and enthusiasm from the people who responded to what I was trying to do. This honour is an even deeper affirmation.”
The Last Dambuster
Britain's last surviving Dambuster has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours, modestly saying he is "very grateful" to all those who had c ampaigned to win him a knighthood .
George "Johnny" Johnson, 95, will be honoured by the Queen for services to World War II Remembrance and in his local community, more than 70 years after his heroics in the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron helped save Britain.
Mr Johnson said he was "honoured" to be recognised, and hoped to ask the Queen's permission to dedicate the award to the 59,000 bomber command personnel who gave their lives for their country.
Supporters of Mr Johnson, who had led a campaign to see him knighted after he was snubbed in previous honour lists, maintained he should have instead received the highest honour, arguing that his achievements and sacrifice were greater than any celebrity, sportsman or businessman to be elevated to a Sir.
Mr Johnson said it was “amazing” that so many people had invested time in campaigning for him to be honoured, adding he is “very grateful to all those people that signed the petitions and made it possible”.
Asked about not being given a knighthood, Mr Johnson added: “I think the MBE is as much honour as I could really expect and I thought, if a knighthood comes up, I’m going to having difficulty not only in accepting it but pointing out to all and sundry that it’s not me.
“I’m the lucky one. I’m still alive. I’m representing the squadron and it is the squadron that is being honoured with this, not me.
“In fact, I got to the stage where I felt that I would have to ask – probably the Queen, if necessary – if I might be permitted to dedicate it to the memory of the now 59,000 bomber command personnel that gave their lives during World War Two and have got little or no respect for that.”
Actress Olivia de Havilland has become the oldest recipient of a damehood at the age of 100, in the centenary of the honour itself.
Dame Olivia, who is approaching her 101st birthday, said she was "extremely proud" to be made a dame for her services to drama, in recognition of her glittering Hollywood career.
The Gone With the Wind star, a double Oscar winner, who will celebrate her birthday in July, is 11 months older than the Order of the British Empire itself, which was founded in 1917 by George V.
"I am extremely proud that the Queen has appointed me a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire," Dame Olivia said. "To receive this honour as my 101st birthday approaches is the most gratifying of birthday presents."
She joins an illustrious group of older recipients, with Dame Vera Lynn last year made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour at the age of 99.
Pc Keith Palmer has been posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery, for his heroic actions in the Westminster terror attack.
Pc Palmer, who was stabbed to death when he confronted attacker Khalid Masood outside the Houses of Parliament in March, “paid the ultimate price for his selfless actions”, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said.
She added: “Keith acted that day with no thought for his own safety, intent simply on doing his job and protecting members of the public and Parliament.”
Bernard Kenny, the pensioner who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to save the life of Jo Cox , is to receive the George Medal for his actions.
Mr Kenny, a former miner had intervened to protect Mrs Cox after she was attacked outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire.
Two West Yorkshire Police officers, Pc Craig Nicholls and Pc Jonathan Wright, who arrested Thomas Mair, are awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
Mrs Cox’s senior caseworker, Sandra Major, who witnessed the killing, receives an MBE for parliamentary services.
Reward for EU talks
Jonathan Faull, who was director general of the European Commission in the lead-up to Brexit, is to receive an honour for “services to UK relations with the EU”.
Mr Faull retired after 38 years, following what has been described as a “high-profile but unsuccessful attempt to keep his country in the EU.”
The End of Political Cronies?
Theresa May stepped away from any involvement in the Queen's Birthday Honours list to avoid accusations of a conflict of interest during the General Election campaign.
Knighthoods and damehoods for Westminster politicians are usually a fixture of the honours list but in this edition there are none because of the timing of the snap poll on June 8.
In fact this year’s list is likely to be labelled as one of the least political of recent years with lower level awards only being handed out to a handful of councillors and political volunteers with no honours going to Westminster's big beasts.
This year's Birthday Honours list comes after Mrs May signalled she wanted to overhaul the system amid fears Britons may be losing confidence in it after a series of scandals.
Her plans were also seen as a sideswipe at David Cameron who was accused of “cronyism” for honouring aides and donors.
But The Telegraph understands Mrs May chose to take no part in the final honours approvals process because of the timing of the election.
As a result there are no high-level awards for parliamentarians and the recommendations from the main honours committee were simply forwarded through Number 10 to Buckingham Palace.
Among more than 1,000 others to receive an honours this year is Andy McNab, who receives a CBE not for his service with the SAS but for his work for literacy charities.
Mr McNab, who rose to fame under a pseudonym in 1993 with his controversial book Bravo Two Zero, said he was "delighted" to have been told he would be recognised.
Mr McNab’s CBE is in recognition for his work with the military and in disadvantaged schools to encourage reading.
Speaking to the Telegraph , he joked that he was especially pleased with his CBE after fearing the official-looking envelope it arrived in was an invoice.
Michael Tuohy, a father who has sacrificed his own Christmas for more than 35 years to help the homeless, is among the previously unsung heroes in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst, who dedicated their lives to campaigning against domestic violence after the death of their daughter, receive an MBE.
Tim Sayer, an art enthusiast who is leaving his collection to the nation , is awarded an MBE, along with Norman Veitch for services to glassblowing and Tommy Miah, nicknamed the “Curry King”, for services to the hospitality industry.
Effie Walker, who has been working as a lollypop lady for Colgrain Primary School since it opened in 1973, received the BEM.
Willem Visscher received an MBE for services to parchment and vellum making , and Anjna Patel for services to the parking profession.
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