King Charles to honour Queen: Rock legend Brian May is knighted 20 years after rocking on the roof of Buckingham Palace… as gongs are also handed out to Countdown’s Rachel Riley, actor Stephen Graham and artist Grayson Perry
- Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May has been knighted in the New Years Honours
- Grayson Perry, Dame May Quant and actor David Harewood are also honoured
- Four members of England’s triumphant women’s Euro 2022 squad are included
Rock royalty will meet actual royalty after Queen guitarist Brian May was knighted in the New Year Honours.
Artist Grayson Perry, Sixties fashion designer Dame Mary Quant and members of the Lionesses’ Euros-winning football squad are also recognised in King Charles III’s first honours list.
Brian May, who receives his knighthood for services to music and charity, famously performed God Save The Queen from the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. He also opened this summer’s Platinum Jubilee concert atop the Victoria Monument opposite the palace.
The 75-year-old is considered to be among the greatest rock guitarists of all time after co-founding Queen in London in 1970 with singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor.
Queen lead guitarist Brian May was knighted in this years New Year Honours. Pictured: Brian May performing at the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth on June 3 2002
King Charles meeting Brian May during the Capital Radio Party in the Park at Hyde Park on July 7 2002
Sir Brian has more recently focused on animal rights activism and astrophysics. He said: ‘I don’t think I expected it because I haven’t been conducting the kind of life which I thought would lead to a knighthood – I’ve been quite vociferous in criticising recent governments, for a start.
‘I imagined I was on the wrong side for all that stuff. It’s a nice surprise to have this honour put upon me.’
Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry receives a knighthood for services to the arts. The flamboyant cross-dressing 62-year-old is known for his pottery, sculptures and tapestries, and previously earned a Bafta for his television work.
He collected a CBE from the then-Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2014 while wearing a midnight-blue dress, jacket and heels, later telling reporters: ‘When I got the call [about the CBE], my first thought was what am I going to wear? It’s a serious thing. I’m not going to compromise my identity as Britain’s pre-eminent transvestite.’
Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry (pictured) receives a knighthood for services to the arts. The flamboyant cross-dressing 62-year-old is known for his pottery, sculptures and tapestries, and previously earned a Bafta for his television work
Dame Mary Quant is appointed a Companion of Honour, a prestigious award given to those who have made a long-standing contribution to arts, science, medicine or government.
The honour was announced just a day after the death of fellow catwalk pioneer Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Dame Mary, 92, is credited with popularising the mini-skirt, which was worn by the likes of model Twiggy. She was made a dame in 2014, again for services to fashion, saying at the time it was ‘the girls on King’s Road who invented the mini. I wore them very short and the customers would say, “shorter, shorter”’.
Membership of the Companions of Honour is limited to just 65 people, with current holders including Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John.
Virginia McKenna (pictured), the 91-year-old actress and co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, has been made a dame
In the entertaiment world, actors Stephen Graham and David Harewood both receive OBEs for services to drama.
Homeland star Harewood, 57, is also recognised for services to charity, having been an outspoken campaigner on race and mental health.
Merseysider Graham, 49, is well known for starring roles in Line of Duty, This is England, and Snatch. He won an International Emmy for care-home drama Help, and a Bafta for hard-hitting prison drama Time alongside Sean Bean.
Comedian Frank Skinner has been awarded an MBE for services to entertainment, but said he did not tell his loved ones of the honour because he thought it ‘might be some sort of administrative error’.
The 65-year-old – whose real name is Christopher Collins – became a household name as half of a comedy duo alongside David Baddiel.
Stephen Graham, 49, is well known for starring roles in Line of Duty, This is England, and Snatch. He won an International Emmy for care-home drama Help, and a Bafta for hard-hitting prison drama Time alongside Sean Bean. He was been awarded an OBE for services to drama
In sport, athletics legend Denise Lewis is made a dame for services to sport, while Liverpool and Scotland defender Andy Robertson and former footballer-turned-pundit Chris Kamara both receive MBEs for services to football and charity. Olympic gold medallist and BBC pundit Lewis said she had not stopped smiling since receiving the news of her damehood, describing it as ‘an incredible honour’. The 50-year-old soared to prominence after winning heptathlon gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
She said: ‘I was endeared into the nation at that time, and it’s almost like going full circle having this damehood 22 years after that performance. It’s very emotional.’
She is joined on the New Year Honours list by former world champion Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead), 34 – who receives an MBE for services to cycling, and ex-Northern Ireland, Tottenham and Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings, 77, who has been awarded a CBE for services to football and charity.
Brian May, who receives his knighthood for services to music and charity, famously performed God Save The Queen from the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. Pictured: Brian May performing at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 4 2022
Four members of England’s triumphant women’s Euro 2022 squad and their coach are also recognised.
Former Countdown star Rachel Riley, 36, is among many prominent campaigners honoured for efforts to raise awareness of the Holocaust and combat anti-Semitism.
She receives an MBE, having been a vocal critic of Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism and of Jeremy Corbyn’s conduct while leader.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, 66, warned that global anti-Semitism was ‘on the rise’ after receiving a knighthood for services to the Jewish community, interfaith relations and education.
He said comments and actions by high-profile figures such as rapper Kanye West ‘do make a very significant mark and we shouldn’t be silent in the wake of such comments and actions’.
Veteran journalists Anne Diamond was also given an OBE. The GB News host has been commended for services to public health and charity
Veteran journalists Anne Diamond and John Suchet have both been given OBEs.
GB News host Diamond, 68, has been commended for services to public health and charity, for her efforts to raise awareness of cot death after she and her then-husband Mike Hollingsworth lost their son Sebastian to sudden infant death syndrome in 1990.
Former ITN broadcaster Suchet, 78, is an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society and is also recognised for his services to charity.
Virginia McKenna, the 91-year-old actress and co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, has been made a dame.
BBC Radio 2 presenter DJ Spoony, 52, whose real name is Johnathan Joseph, receives a British Empire Medal for his charity fundraising during the Covid pandemic.