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Order of the Companions of Honour

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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."[1]

Order of the Companions of Honour
Companion of Honour.jpg
Riband and badge of the "Companions of Honour"
Awarded by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms
Type Order
Motto In Action Faithful and in Honour Clear
Awarded for Nationally important service
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II
Grades Companion (CH)
Order of the Companions of Honour Ribbon.gif
Ribbon bar of the order
Lord Tweedsmuir, as Governor General of Canada, wearing the Companion of Honour badge around his neck as part of his ceremonial Windsor uniform

Founded on the same date as the Order of the British Empire,[1] it is sometimes regarded as the junior order to the Order of Merit.[2] Now described as "awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time",[3] 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.[4] The centenary of the Order was marked by a service in the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace on 13 June 2017, attended by HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and many members of the Order. The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court is now the Chapel of the Order.[5]

Contents

CompositionEdit

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.[2] For Canadians, the advice to the Sovereign can come from a variety of officials.[6]

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.[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.

InsigniaEdit

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.

Current CompanionsEdit

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 81
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 98
04 (265)   Sydney Brenner CH, FRS, FMedSci Biologist 31 December 1986 90
05 (267)   The Lord Tebbit CH, PC Politician 31 July 1987 86
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 83
09 (278)   The Lord King of Bridgwater CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 84
10 (282)   Dame Janet Baker CH, DBE Opera singer 31 December 1993 84
11 (287)   The Lord Owen CH, PC Politician 11 June 1994 79
12 (289)   Sir David Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE Broadcaster and naturalist 30 December 1995 91
13 (291)   The Lord Hurd of Westwell CH, CBE, PC Politician 30 December 1995 87
14 (294)   David Hockney OM, CH Artist 14 June 1997 80
15 (296)   The Lord Heseltine CH, PC Politician 2 August 1997 84
16 (297)   The Lord Patten of Barnes CH, PC Politician and former Governor of Hong Kong 31 December 1997 73
17 (298)   Peter Brook CH, CBE Theatre director 13 June 1998 92
18 (299)   Sir John Major KG, CH, PC Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 31 December 1998 74
19 (300)   Bridget Riley CH, CBE Artist 31 December 1998 86
20 (305)   John de Chastelain CC, CMM, CD, CH Canadian general and diplomat 31 December 1998 80
21 (311)   Sir Harrison Birtwistle CH Composer 30 December 2000 83
22 (312)   Sir Michael Howard OM, CH, CBE, MC, FBA Historian 15 June 2002 94
23 (316)   James Lovelock CH, CBE, FRS Scientist and environmentalist 31 December 2002 98
24 (317)   Dan McKenzie CH, FRS Geophysicist 14 June 2003 75
25 (318)   The Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG, CH Diplomat 14 June 2003 71
26 (320)   Dame Judi Dench CH, DBE Actress 11 June 2005 82
27 (321)   Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE Actor 31 December 2007 78
28 (322)   The Lord Rogers of Riverside CH, FRIBA, FREng, RA Architect & Pritzker laureate 14 June 2008 84
29 (323)   The Lord Howard of Lympne CH, QC, PC Politician 11 June 2011 76
30 (324)   The Lord Young of Cookham Bt, CH, PC Politician 20 September 2012 76
31 (325)   The Lord Coe CH, KBE Athlete, politician, organiser of 2012 Olympics 29 December 2012 60
32 (326)   Peter Higgs CH, FRS Physicist 29 December 2012 88
33 (327)   The Lord Strathclyde CH, PC Politician 7 January 2013 57
34 (328)   The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH, CBE, PC, QC Politician 15 June 2013 76
35 (329)   Sir Nicholas Serota CH Museum curator 15 June 2013 71
36 (331)   The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve CH, CBE, FBA, FRS, FMedSci Philosopher 31 December 2013 76
37 (332)   Dame Maggie Smith CH, DBE Actress 14 June 2014 82
38 (333)   Kenneth Clarke CH, QC, PC, MP Politician 22 July 2014 77
39 (334)   The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG, CH, KBE, PC Politician 1 January 2015 76
40 (336)   Dame Mary Peters CH, DBE Athlete 1 January 2015 78
41 (337)   The Lord Young of Graffham CH, PC, DL Politician 1 January 2015 85
42 (339)   The Lord Woolf CH, PC, FBA, FMedSci Judge 12 June 2015 84
43 (341)   Sir Roy Strong CH, FRSL Art historian, museum director 1 January 2016 82
44 (342)   Dame Vera Lynn CH, DBE Singer 11 June 2016 100
45 (343)   The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT, CH Businessman 11 June 2016 73
46 (344)   The Baroness Amos CH, PC Politician and diplomat 11 June 2016 63
47 (345)   George Osborne CH, PC Politician 4 August 2016 46
48 (346)   Sir Roger Bannister CH, CBE Athlete, physician and academic 31 December 2016 88
49 (347)   Sir Richard Eyre CH, CBE Director 31 December 2016 74
50 (348)   Dame Evelyn Glennie CH, DBE Percussionist 31 December 2016 52
51 (349)   Sir Alec Jeffreys CH, FRS Geneticist 31 December 2016 67
52 (350)   The Baroness Warnock CH, DBE, FBA, FMedSci Philosopher 31 December 2016 93
53 (351)   The Baroness Williams of Crosby CH, PC Politician 31 December 2016 87
54 (352)   Sir Terence Conran CH Designer 16 June 2017 85
55 (353)   Sir Mark Elder CH, CBE Conductor 16 June 2017 70
56 (354)   Dame Beryl Grey CH, DBE Dancer 16 June 2017 90
57 (355)   Sir Paul McCartney CH, MBE Musician 16 June 2017 75
58 (356)   J. K. Rowling CH, OBE Author 16 June 2017 52
59 (357)   Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, DBE, FREng Entrepreneur and philanthropist 16 June 2017 84
60 (358)   Delia Smith CH, CBE Cook and writer 16 June 2017 76
61 (359)   The Lord Stern of Brentford CH, FRS, FBA Economist 16 June 2017 71
62 (360)   Sir John Sulston CH, FRS Biologist 16 June 2017 75

Honorary CompanionsEdit

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 88
3 (340)   Desmond Tutu CH Social rights activist and clergyman 30 November 2015 85

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The number shown in brackets is the individual's place in the wider sequence of appointment since the Order's inception.

ReferencesEdit