Sir Salman Rushdie, Arlene Foster and AstraZeneca boss celebrated in Queen’s birthday honours

The Independent
The Independent

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot has received a knighthood and former Northern Ireland leader Arlene Foster has received a damehood in the Queen’s birthday honours list, while novelist Sir Salman Rushdie has also been recognised.

Top NHS England officials who led the response during the Covid pandemic have received top awards, with Stephen Powis , national medical director, set to be knighted and Ruth May , chief nurse, to become a dame.

Ex-England footballer Rio Ferdinand received an OBE for charity work, while cricketer Moeen Ali and Welsh footballer Gareth Bale both received MBEs.

Sports broadcaster Clare Balding has been awarded a CBE alongside fashion designer Stella McCartney , while singer Bonnie Tyler and MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace both got MBEs.

More than 1,100 people were honoured in the 2022 Queen’s birthday list, which was released on Wednesday night as the monarch prepared to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee .

Thirteen per cent of recipients were from an ethnic minority background, while 44 per cent of those getting awards of CBE or higher were women.

”The aim of the honour system is for our list to be proportionately representative of the whole of the UK and we are gradually moving towards achieving that goal,” Dame Barbara Monroe, who sits on the honours committee, told a press conference.

Men were still more likely to nominate and be nominated, she said. Dame Barbara also wanted to see more people put forward as candidates from ethnic minority groups and regions such as the northwest and West Midlands.

A number of politicians have been celebrated in this year’s birthday honours, including veteran Labour MP Stephen Timms and Tory MP Jeremy Wright , who have both been given a knighthood. Labour’s Nia Griffith and the Conservative party’s Maria Miller have received damehoods.

Ms Foster, who was first minister of Northern Ireland until she resigned last year , said she was “thrilled and delighted” to be granted the award in the 2022 list.

Six UK government officials on the ground during the Afghanistan evacuation have been rewarded for their service with honours, including Dr Martin Longden, former charge d’affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan.

Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin received a knighthood while Booker Prize winner Sir Salman Rushdie joined illustrator Sir Quentin Blake and historian Dame Marina Warner was added to the Companions of Honour list.

Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone was made a knight, while the outgoing vice chancellor of Oxford University, Louise Richardson , and Cafe Rouge founder Karen Jones were awarded damehoods.

Alexis Bowater received an OBE for her services to the safety and equality of women, including campaigns on new stalking laws and for a statue of the first female MP Nancy Astor – who has been accused of holding antisemitic views – in Plymouth.

Ms Bowater told a press conference there was “no evidence” Astor was antisemitic, while a government official refused to comment on that particular case.

Eve Muirhead, a Beijing Olympic curling gold medallist, received an OBE while the rest of her team got MBEs in this year’s birthday honours list.

Ms Monroe, from the selection committee, paid tribute to this year’s recipients at a press briefing at Lancaster House on Tuesday, saying they had all gone “over and above” in their chosen fields and had strived to make the world a “better and safer place”.

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