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

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

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. 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' 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 Former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 3 June 1978 84
02 (246)   Doug Anthony AC, CH, PC Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia 31 December 1981 90
03 (267)   The Lord Tebbit CH, PC Politician 31 July 1987 89
04 (270)   The Lord Baker of Dorking CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 85
05 (271)   The Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 86
06 (278)   The Lord King of Bridgwater CH, PC Politician 13 April 1992 87
07 (282)   Dame Janet Baker CH, DBE Opera singer 31 December 1993 87
08 (287)   The Lord Owen CH, PC Politician 11 June 1994 82
09 (289)   Sir David Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE Broadcaster and naturalist 30 December 1995 94
10 (291)   The Lord Hurd of Westwell CH, CBE, PC Politician 30 December 1995 90
11 (294)   David Hockney OM, CH Artist 14 June 1997 83
12 (296)   The Lord Heseltine CH, PC Politician 2 August 1997 87
13 (297)   The Lord Patten of Barnes CH, PC Politician and former Governor of Hong Kong 31 December 1997 76
14 (298)   Peter Brook CH, CBE Director 13 June 1998 95
15 (299)   Sir John Major KG, CH, PC Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 31 December 1998 77
16 (300)   Bridget Riley CH, CBE Artist 31 December 1998 89
17 (305)   John de Chastelain CC, CMM, CD, CH Canadian general and diplomat 31 December 1998 83
18 (311)   Sir Harrison Birtwistle CH Composer 30 December 2000 86
19 (316)   James Lovelock CH, CBE, FRS Environmentalist 31 December 2002 101
20 (317)   Dan McKenzie CH, FRS Geophysicist 14 June 2003 78
21 (318)   The Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG, CH Diplomat 14 June 2003 74
22 (320)   Dame Judi Dench CH, DBE Actress 11 June 2005 85
23 (321)   Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE Actor 31 December 2007 81
24 (322)   The Lord Rogers of Riverside CH, FRIBA, FREng, RA Architect 14 June 2008 87
25 (323)   The Lord Howard of Lympne CH, QC, PC Politician 11 June 2011 79
26 (324)   The Lord Young of Cookham Bt, CH, PC Politician 20 September 2012 79
27 (325)   The Lord Coe CH, KBE Athlete, politician and organiser of 2012 Olympics 29 December 2012 63
28 (326)   Peter Higgs CH, FRS Physicist 29 December 2012 91
29 (327)   The Lord Strathclyde CH, PC Politician 7 January 2013 60
30 (328)   The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH, CBE, PC, QC Politician 15 June 2013 79
31 (329)   Sir Nicholas Serota CH Curator 15 June 2013 74
32 (331)   The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve CH, CBE, FBA, FRS, FMedSci Philosopher 31 December 2013 79
33 (332)   Dame Maggie Smith CH, DBE Actress 14 June 2014 85
34 (333)   The Lord Clarke of Nottingham CH, QC, PC Politician 22 July 2014 80
35 (336)   Lady Mary Peters LG, CH, DBE Athlete 1 January 2015 81
36 (337)   The Lord Young of Graffham CH, PC, DL Politician 1 January 2015 88
37 (339)   The Lord Woolf CH, PC, FBA, FMedSci Judge 12 June 2015 87
38 (341)   Sir Roy Strong CH, FRSL Art historian and museum director 1 January 2016 85
39 (343)   The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT, CH Businessman 11 June 2016 76
40 (344)   The Baroness Amos CH, PC Politician and diplomat 11 June 2016 66
41 (345)   George Osborne CH, PC Politician and former Chancellor of the Exchequer 4 August 2016 49
42 (347)   Sir Richard Eyre CH, CBE Director 31 December 2016 77
43 (348)   Dame Evelyn Glennie CH, DBE Percussionist 31 December 2016 55
44 (349)   Sir Alec Jeffreys CH, FRS Geneticist 31 December 2016 70
45 (351)   The Baroness Williams of Crosby CH, PC Politician 31 December 2016 90
46 (353)   Sir Mark Elder CH, CBE Conductor 17 June 2017 73
47 (354)   Dame Beryl Grey CH, DBE Dancer 17 June 2017 93
48 (355)   Sir Paul McCartney CH, MBE Musician 17 June 2017 78
49 (356)   J. K. Rowling CH, OBE Author 17 June 2017 55
50 (357)   Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, DBE, FREng Entrepreneur and philanthropist 17 June 2017 87
51 (358)   Delia Smith CH, CBE Cook and writer 17 June 2017 79
52 (359)   The Lord Stern of Brentford CH, FRS, FBA Economist 17 June 2017 74
53 (361)   The Lord Bragg CH, FRS, FBA, FRSL Broadcaster 30 December 2017 80
54 (362)   Lady Antonia Fraser CH, DBE, FRSL Author 30 December 2017 88
55 (363)   Margaret MacMillan CC, CH Historian 30 December 2017 76
56 (364)   Richard Henderson CH, FRS, FMedSci Biologist 9 June 2018 75
57 (365)   Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ONZ, CH, DBE, AC Opera singer 9 June 2018 76
58 (366)   Margaret Atwood CC, OOnt, CH, FRSC, FRSL Author 29 December 2018 80
59 (367)   The Lord McLoughlin CH, PC Politician 10 September 2019 62
60 (368)   Sir Elton John CH, CBE Musician 28 December 2019 73
61 (369)   Sir Keith Thomas CH, FBA, FLSW, FRHistS Historian 28 December 2019 87
62 (-) Vacant following the death of Sydney Brenner, biologist, on 5 April 2019.
63 (-) Vacant following the death of Sir Michael Howard, historian, on 30 November 2019.
64 (-) Vacant following the death of Dame Vera Lynn, singer, on 18 June 2020.
65 (-) Vacant following the death of Sir Terence Conran , designer, on 12 September 2020.

Honorary CompanionsEdit

Member number Name Post-nominals Known for Date of appointment Age
1 (261)   Amartya Sen CH, FBA Economist 11 May 2000 86
2 (304)   Bernard Haitink CH, KBE Conductor 12 June 2002 91
3 (340)   Desmond Tutu CH Social rights activist and clergyman 30 November 2015 88

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.