Order of the Companions of Honour

The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded on 4 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
CHCompanionofHonour.jpg
Riband and badge of the "Companions of Honour"
Awarded by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms
TypeOrder
Established4 June 1917
MottoIn Action Faithful and in Honour Clear
Awarded forNationally important service
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
GradesCompanion (CH)
Order of the Companions of Honour Ribbon.gif
Ribbon bar of the order

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.[4] The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court is now the Chapel of the Order.[5]

CompositionEdit

 
Lord Tweedsmuir, as Governor General of Canada, wearing the Companion of Honour badge around his neck

The order consists of the Sovereign and a maximum 65 members. Additionally, foreigners or Commonwealth citizens from outside the Commonwealth 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 nine for India, Burma, and the other British colonies. The quota numbers were altered in 1970 to 47 for the United Kingdom, seven for Australia, two for New Zealand, and nine for other Commonwealth realms. The quota was adjusted again in 1975 by adding two places to the New Zealand quota and reducing the nine for the other countries to seven.[7]

While still able to nominate candidates to the Order, the Cabinet of Australia has effectively stopped the allocation of this award to that country's citizens in preference to other Australian honours. The last Australian member, Doug Anthony, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, died on 20 December 2020.[8] Margaret MacMillan, a Canadian historian, was given the award in 2017. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a New Zealand soprano, was given the award in 2018. Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author, was appointed in 2019.

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's 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 Occupation Date of appointment Age
01 (267)   The Lord Tebbit CH, PC Politician 31 July 1987 90
02 (270)   The Lord Baker of Dorking CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 86
03 (271)   The Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 87
04 (278)   The Lord King of Bridgwater CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 88
05 (282)   Dame Janet Baker CH, DBE Opera singer 31 December 1993 88
06 (287)   The Lord Owen CH, PC Politician 11 June 1994 83
07 (289)   Sir David Attenborough OM, GCMG, CH, CVO, CBE Broadcaster; naturalist 30 December 1995 95
08 (291)   The Lord Hurd of Westwell CH, CBE, PC Politician 30 December 1995 91
09 (294)   David Hockney OM, CH Artist 14 June 1997 84
10 (296)   The Lord Heseltine CH, PC Politician 2 August 1997 88
11 (297)   The Lord Patten of Barnes CH, PC Politician; former Governor of Hong Kong 31 December 1997 77
12 (298)   Peter Brook CH, CBE Director 13 June 1998 96
13 (299)   Sir John Major KG, CH, PC Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 31 December 1998 78
14 (300)   Bridget Riley CH, CBE Artist 31 December 1998 90
15 (305)   John de Chastelain CC, CMM, CH, CD Canadian Army officer; diplomat 31 December 1998 84
16 (311)   Sir Harrison Birtwistle CH Composer 30 December 2000 87
17 (316)   James Lovelock CH, CBE, FRS Environmentalist 31 December 2002 102
18 (317)   Dan McKenzie CH, FRS Geophysicist 14 June 2003 79
19 (318)   The Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG, CH Diplomat 14 June 2003 75
20 (320)   Dame Judi Dench CH, DBE Actress 11 June 2005 86
21 (321)   Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE Actor 31 December 2007 82
22 (322)   The Lord Rogers of Riverside CH, FRIBA, FREng, RA Architect 14 June 2008 88
23 (323)   The Lord Howard of Lympne CH, QC, PC Politician 11 June 2011 80
24 (324)   The Lord Young of Cookham Bt, CH, PC Politician 20 September 2012 80
25 (325)   The Lord Coe CH, KBE Politician; Athlete; organiser of 2012 Olympics 29 December 2012 64
26 (326)   Peter Higgs CH, FRS Physicist 29 December 2012 92
27 (327)   The Lord Strathclyde CH, PC Politician 7 January 2013 61
28 (328)   The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH, CBE, PC, QC Politician 15 June 2013 80
29 (329)   Sir Nicholas Serota CH Curator 15 June 2013 75
30 (331)   The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve CH, CBE, FBA, FRS, FMedSci Philosopher 31 December 2013 80
31 (332)   Dame Maggie Smith CH, DBE Actress 14 June 2014 86
32 (333)   The Lord Clarke of Nottingham CH, QC, PC Politician 22 July 2014 81
33 (336)   Lady Mary Peters LG, CH, DBE, DStJ Athlete 1 January 2015 82
34 (337)   The Lord Young of Graffham CH, PC, DL Politician 1 January 2015 89
35 (339)   The Lord Woolf CH, PC, FBA, FMedSci Judge 12 June 2015 88
36 (341)   Sir Roy Strong CH, FRSL Art historian; museum director 1 January 2016 86
37 (343)   The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT, CH Businessman 11 June 2016 77
38 (344)   The Baroness Amos CH, PC Politician; diplomat 11 June 2016 67
39 (345)   George Osborne CH, PC Politician; former Chancellor of the Exchequer 4 August 2016 50
40 (347)   Sir Richard Eyre CH, CBE Director 31 December 2016 78
41 (348)   Dame Evelyn Glennie CH, DBE Musician 31 December 2016 56
42 (349)   Sir Alec Jeffreys CH, FRS Geneticist 31 December 2016 71
43 (353)   Sir Mark Elder CH, CBE Conductor 17 June 2017 74
44 (354)   Dame Beryl Grey CH, DBE Dancer 17 June 2017 94
45 (355)   Sir Paul McCartney CH, MBE Musician 17 June 2017 79
46 (356)   J. K. Rowling CH, OBE Author 17 June 2017 56
47 (357)   Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, DBE, FREng Entrepreneur; philanthropist 17 June 2017 87
48 (358)   Delia Smith CH, CBE Cook; author 17 June 2017 80
49 (359)   The Lord Stern of Brentford CH, FRS, FBA Economist 17 June 2017 75
50 (361)   The Lord Bragg CH, FRS, FBA, FRSL Broadcaster 30 December 2017 81
51 (362)   Lady Antonia Fraser CH, DBE, FRSL Author 30 December 2017 89
52 (363)   Margaret MacMillan CC, CH Historian 30 December 2017 77
53 (364)   Richard Henderson CH, FRS, FMedSci Biologist 9 June 2018 76
54 (365)   Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ONZ, CH, DBE, AC Opera singer 9 June 2018 77
55 (366)   Margaret Atwood CC, OOnt, CH, FRSC, FRSL Author 29 December 2018 81
56 (367)   The Lord McLoughlin CH, PC Politician 10 September 2019 63
57 (368)   Sir Elton John CH, CBE Musician 28 December 2019 74
58 (369)   Sir Keith Thomas CH, FBA, FLSW, FRHistS Historian 28 December 2019 88
59 (370)   Sir Paul Smith CH, CBE, RDI Fashion designer 10 October 2020 75
60 (371)   Sir David Chipperfield CH CBE RA RDI RIBA Architect 31 December 2020 67
61 (-) Vacant following the death of Dame Vera Lynn, on 18 June 2020.
62 (-) Vacant following the death of Sir Terence Conran, on 12 September 2020.
63 (-) Vacant following the death of Doug Anthony, on 20 December 2020.
64 (-) Vacant following the death of Sir Michael Somare, on 26 February 2021.
65 (-) Vacant following the death of Baroness Williams of Crosby, on 12 April 2021.

Honorary CompanionsEdit

Member number Name Post-nominals Occupation Date of appointment Age
1 (261)   Amartya Sen CH, FBA Economist 11 May 2000 87
2 (304)   Bernard Haitink CH, KBE Conductor 12 June 2002 92
3 (340)   Desmond Tutu OMSG, CH, GCStJ Social rights activist; clergyman 30 November 2015 89

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

  1. ^ a b "A New Order". The Times. 25 August 1917. p. 7.
  2. ^ a b "The Monarch of the Today > Queen Ann arbor to the new one w public > Honours > Companions of Honour". Royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  3. ^ "The honours system: Types of honours and awards". UK Government. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  4. ^ "No. 30250". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 August 1917. p. 8799.
  5. ^ http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/event/the-queen-duke-of-edinburgh-attend-evensong-in-celebration-of-the-centenary-of-the-order-of-the-companions-of-honour-700063722#dame-judi-dench-arrives-to-attend-evensong-at-the-chapel-royal-court-picture-id695723388
  6. ^ McCreery, Christopher (2005a). The Canadian Honours System. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-55002-554-5.
  7. ^ Rayment, Leigh. "Companions of Honour". Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2013.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Barbour, Lucy (20 December 2020). "Doug Anthony, former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister, dies aged 90". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 20 December 2020.