Queen Elizabeth has released the 2013 New Year's Honours list of those who will receive knighthoods, various other grades of the Order of the British Empire and other recognitions between January and June. The list was made public just after midnight January 1, 2013 British time and includes gold medal-winning Olympians and Paralympians, famous actors and public-minded individuals.
Famous names for the 2013 New Year's Honours include Ewan McGregor, intrepid motorcyclist and Jedi knight, who will now receive an OBE and fall short of becoming an actual knight. Sarah Storey, Ben Ainslie and Bradley Wiggins are three of five to be knighted in the Order of the British Empire, according to The Guardian.
Sebastian Coe becomes a Baron and one of only two new Companions of Honour — a rare accolade indeed, as only 65 can be alive at the same time. Professor Peter Higgs is the other Companion of Honour for his Higgs boson particle, 48 years after his discovery of the God particle.
Every British gold medalist in the 2012 Games will receive a “gong” — 123 in all. However, according to The Daily Mail, some athletes have expressed disappointment that Paralympians tended to get lesser honors, and that some of the knighthoods, such as Sarah Storey's, were long overdue.
It's rare that anyone criticizes the system so openly except either in terms of its balance between sectors or of its actual existence, and the comments could sting the commission that determines who gets what.
Roald Dahl's illustrator, Quentin Blake, is to receive a New Year's Honour, while Cherie Blair, wife of the former prime minister Tony Blair, and singer Kate Bush will receive CBEs for their charitable work. Stella McCartney gets the OBE for “services to fashion.”
As for the others, some 75 percent of the honors list consists of private individuals, Members of Parliament, philanthropists and others who get on with their lives, help others, and make a difference in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Sources: The Guardian; Daily Mail; Full list of New Year's Honours