Paul McCartney, J.K. Rowling, Blavatnik, Top U.K. Honors List

  • Cookbook writer Delia Smith, designer Terence Conran get CBEs
  • ‘Most diverse list ever’ has even split of men and women

Paul McCartney

Photographer: Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Former Beatle Paul McCartney and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling led those named to the U.K.’s honors list awarded to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.

Both are made Companions of Honour, a 100-year-old award limited to 65 members at any one time, along with designer Terence Conran, cookbook writer and TV presenter Delia Smith and Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist and author of a widely-cited report into the economics of climate change.

The list, officially published Saturday, recognizes “extraordinary people” from across the U.K. and is the “most diverse since the Order of the British Empire was started in 1917,” Mary Marsh, a member of the honors committee, said at a briefing in Queen Victoria’s former bedroom in London’s Kensington Palace. Of the 1,109 people receiving awards, 554 are women and 10 

J.K. Rowling

Photographer: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

percent are from ethnic minorities, she said.

Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik is knighted for his charity work, as is Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. Receiving the same award are John Timpson, chairman of Timpson Limited, and Frank Lowy, chairman of Westfield Corp. Jonathan Faull, who led the European Commission’s ill-fated task force to stop Brexit, also becomes a knight. They will all receive their honors in a ceremony during which they are touched on both shoulders with a sword and can then use the title "sir" before their names.

Helena Morrissey, Legal & General Investment Management’s head of personal investing and a campaigner for women on company boards, becomes a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, along with the actresses Julie Walters and June Whitfield.

Newly-installed Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, or CBEs, include the singer Sade, “Fungus the Bogeyman” author Raymond Briggs and former special forces soldier and action book author Andy McNab, who wins the award for “services to literacy and charity.” Stephen Lansdown, who co-founded Hargreaves Lansdown Plc and owns Bristol City Football Club, also becomes a CBE alongside architect Amanda Levete.

Terence Conran

Photographer: Carl Court/Getty Images

John Binns, a former partner at Deloitte LLP, becomes a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, in recognition of his work to improve attitudes to mental health in Britain’s financial services industry. So far 43 companies have signed up to the City Mental Health Alliance, a program to share best practice, where he is on the management committee.

“Five years ago, getting organizations in the room to talk about it was almost impossible,” Binns said in an interview. “But there’s something going on, there’s a bow wave of change,” he said. “There’s still a significant association with weakness that’s built quite strongly into the city culture: We need to help people understand it’s not about weakness. ”

Delia Smith

Photographer: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Singers Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande and Sandie Shaw also receive MBEs alongside Johnny Johnson, the last surviving participant in the 1943 “Dambusters” bombing raids on German industry during World War II.

Most of the awards go to those who carry out community and charity work, many with young people. Award-winners include people as diverse as glass blowers, flint nappers, foster carers and John Hare, who receives his award for “services to conservation of the wild camel in Mongolia and China.”

Nicholas Stern

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The honors, awarded twice yearly, are bestowed in the name of the queen and recommended by a panel that considers suggestions from government departments and political parties as well as from members of the public.

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