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  #41  
Old 12-28-2007, 10:57 PM
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Some Commonwealth realm governments choose to use British honours to honour their citizens. That tradition has died down quite a lot in the past 20-30 years, as neither Australia nor New Zealand do so as they have created their own honours systems.

The Order of the Garter and Order of the Thistle are the two most prestigious awards. Knights/Ladies Companion are appointed by the Queen, who can appoint them without the advice of the government. They are typically peers, but that isn't always the case.

The Order of the Bath has three ranks (Knight/Dame Grand Cross, Knight/Dame Commander, and Companion) in two divisions (Military and Civil). Memberships in the military division are typically given to high-ranking military officers and memberships in the Civil division are typically given to civil servants. All appointments are on the advice of the government.

The Order of Merit is, like the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle, given by the Queen's personal gift. It is primarily given for excellence in the areas of art, science, literature, etc.

The Order of St Michael and St George has three ranks, identical to those of the Bath, but only in one division. It is primarily given for diplomatic service.

The Royal Victorian Order is given by the Queen for personal service to her, usually to members of her household and those that assist in the organization of royal tours overseas. It has five ranks:

*Knight/Dame Grand Cross
*Knight/Dame Commander
*Commander
*Lieutenant
*Member

The Order of the British Empire is the most common order. It has five ranks (the same as the Royal Victorian Order but with Officer instead of Lieutenant) in two divisions (Military and Civil). It is given to military officers and just about anyone else who needs honoured. It's given on the advice of the government.

The Order of the Companions of Honour is similar to the Order of Merit in composition, but is given on the advice of the government and is less prestigious.

There are also Knights Bachelor, who are Knights but not members of any particular orders. As there is no female equivalent, females are made Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire instead.
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  #42  
Old 12-29-2007, 12:42 AM
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actors/actresses and other questions

So, here in the States, when we read about Sir Ian McKellan (spelling?), Dame Judi Dench, or Dame Elizabeth Taylor, are they "knights/dames" in general, or of a specific order?

(I did check out the links you provided, and I do appreciate your help!) I was reading the list for the New Year's Honours and I was astonished at all the military listings and household listings until I saw your response.

Why are the Honours done twice a year? Is there any specific reason for that?
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  #43  
Old 12-29-2007, 01:31 AM
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Sir Ian McKellen is just a regular Knight, and Liz Taylor and Judi Dench are in the Order of the British Empire because there is no equivalent for women.

I have no idea why they do it twice a year.

I was pleased to see that Ian McKellen was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour "For services to Drama and to Equality."
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  #44  
Old 12-30-2007, 05:30 AM
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I have a question and please remember that I am a silly, stupid American.

HOW can a person who openly advocates for the elimination of the monarchy turn around and be interested in HONOURS? I have been reading my British Royalty books fiercely and I distinctly remember that the SOVEREIGN is the fount of all HONOURS? That seems to be a contradiction to me? <tic>
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  #45  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:07 AM
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Well I have always made it clear that I'm all for state awards. Every country in the world has them from North Korea to Japan to the USA. Most of the awards are given on the advice of the Government and though the whole Sir/Dame thing is a bit daft outside of panto, I think it's right that Britain rewards hard work. The Sovereign is the Fount of All Honour in name only - it's the Government who really make the decisions with the exception of one or two orders.
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  #46  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:14 AM
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Isn't Honours really just a consolation prize for not being good enough to be born into a proper and fitting family with a real aristocratic title anyway?
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  #47  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:17 AM
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Not at all, it's a recognition of special achievement. They don't make anyone more aristocratic or more noble, they just recognise hard work. For example, Julie Walters is a fabulous actress who's been truly amazing in everything she's been in and 2007 was a good year for her so a CBE is deserved. Whilst I flinch a bit at the British Empire thing, I think it's important that we have a way of giving people an official pat on the back.
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  #48  
Old 12-30-2007, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BeatrixFan View Post
I think it's important that we have a way of giving people an official pat on the back.
You sound almost exactly like the Queen there.
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  #49  
Old 12-30-2007, 03:31 PM
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Cake and eating it too. LOL
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  #50  
Old 12-30-2007, 04:00 PM
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Is it? We could have state awards under a President. It's no big deal who gives 'em out, it's the Government who actually awards them. I don't see why this is bringing out glee in you?
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  #51  
Old 12-30-2007, 08:41 PM
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Honours system

BeatrixFan, since you seem to know quite a bit about the system, would you happen to know why the awards are done twice a year? Does the government have the same amount of input into the "Birthday (is that right?) List" as they do in the "New Year's List"? I'm just curious about the whole thing. It's a cool thing to me, of course, I've been an Anglophile for a long time, even living here in the States.
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  #52  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BeatrixFan View Post
Is it? We could have state awards under a President. It's no big deal who gives 'em out, it's the Government who actually awards them. I don't see why this is bringing out glee in you?
Because you have made public pronouncements on more than one occasion that you want to see the Monarchy abolished.

Parliament could give out awards and those would be GOVERNMENT AWARDS, truly.

When the MONARCH gives out HONOURS, that is a ROYAL FUNCTION.
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  #53  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by skhaynie View Post
BeatrixFan, since you seem to know quite a bit about the system, would you happen to know why the awards are done twice a year? Does the government have the same amount of input into the "Birthday (is that right?) List" as they do in the "New Year's List"? I'm just curious about the whole thing. It's a cool thing to me, of course, I've been an Anglophile for a long time, even living here in the States.
Hi there. Both lists are compiled in the same way by the same people, but they're done twice a year. For practicality, this means that there's not thousands of people all waiting to be called up to the Palace to collect their honour. If they do it in two batches, it's more managable.

Quote:
Because you have made public pronouncements on more than one occasion that you want to see the Monarchy abolished.
Could I ask you to take a moment, go back to the monarchy/republic discussion and could you read the post where I made it very clear that I supported an honours system. I don't support certain awards but the principle of an honours system, that being to reward the talented, I agree with. The Queen doesn't come into it.
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  #54  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:42 PM
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Because you have made public pronouncements on more than one occasion that you want to see the Monarchy abolished.
He's made it quite clear that he wants many "royal" functions to stay, but just be vested in an elected official. Personally I disagree with this, but I do understand how the monarchy and the functions of it can be separated. You seem to be conflating republicanism with a loathing of all the roles of a head of state.
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  #55  
Old 12-30-2007, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BeatrixFan View Post
...the principle of an honours system, that being to reward the talented, I agree with. The Queen doesn't come into it.
I respectfully submit you cannot leave her out, they come from HM Queen Elizabeth, she is the FOUNT OF ALL HONORS. IF you are saying that you support STATE awards, then I totally agree and understand your position.

I understand that and when such functions are vested in a government then that is correct, I do understand that difference in a head of state and a Monarchy. BUT until those functions ARE SEPARATED to a head of state / government, they remain ROYAL in nature.
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  #56  
Old 12-30-2007, 10:26 PM
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So, are these occasions the "investitures" we see mentioned on the current events boards? About how many will be "invested" at one event? Do many people ever turn down the "honour"? I seem to recall a news report about someone that did in the last year, but the name escapes me.

I know Prince Charles does some of the work in giving these out, about how many does he do these days? Have he and the Queen worked out a ratio sort of thing, or is it more 'the one in Town' at the time will do it? (I write that facetiously, b/c I know their schedules are worked out months in advance) I realize you may not know all the answers, but given you are in England, you probably know a lot about it. Yes, I know it would be rude, but has anyone ever "publically" groaned about getting their award from Prince Charles, or another Royal, instead of the Queen? (I think to do so would be horribly rude.)
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  #57  
Old 12-30-2007, 10:30 PM
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The investitures are far more frequent than the semi-annual lists. Given the number of people honoured on a given list, it would be cruel to expect the Queen to do them all in one event! Even with the lists divided, that's far more than could be accommodated.

Media Centre > Event highlights > Investitures at Buckingham Palace, November 2007

According to that page, around 120 are done each time, with 20 every year.
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  #58  
Old 12-31-2007, 06:20 AM
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There's quite a few people who turn down an honour. They do so for different reasons - political protest, religious reasons or simply that they don't feel whats being offered is high enough. And then of course, some people return an honour in protest. Nobody seems to mind picking up their honour from Prince Charles or Princess Anne but I think the majority secretly hope it'll be the Queen.
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  #59  
Old 12-31-2007, 05:39 PM
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John Lennon famously returned his OBE. And weren't there some OBE'ers who returned theirs when The Beatles were awarded one?

Has Vanessa Redgrave ever been considered or received one of these honours? I'm guessing she'd be one to refuse but I gather she's mellowed a bit.
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  #60  
Old 12-31-2007, 06:42 PM
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Well, I can certainly understand that feeling. I mean no disrespect, of course, but it seems like it would be similar to expecting your favorite relative to attend a party, and your least liked family member ends up the guest of honor. (Absolutely NO disrespect meant towards Prince Charles nor Princess Anne by that statement!) Or perhaps being nominated for an Oscar and not winning. (I certainly don't believe that old saw "Oh, but it is an honor just to be nominated!" Yeah, but winning will add a few million to your next paycheck!!!!!)
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