The Honours System
The honours system offers public recognition to people in all walks of life and all sections of society who have given quite exceptional service and made a difference in their community or in the country. There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution, for details click here.
The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world. It has evolved over 650 years and today recognises merit, gallantry and service. Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in mid-June on the date of The Queen’s official birthday.
Anyone can receive an award if they reach the required standard of merit or service, and honours lists contain a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. Anyone can nominate someone for an award but it is important to note that longevity in a position is not sufficient in itself and that honours are not usually awarded after someone has retired.
Access to the required form and further information can be obtained by clicking here.
It is important to remember to include all good works performed by the nominee, not just the foremost reason. It is essential to source and submit several strong letters of recommendation from people who know at first-hand about the work which has caused the nomination to be made. The Lord-Lieutenant is involved in the honours process, therefore is unable to act as a referee.
A nomination will take about 18 months to pass through the vetting process, from the point it is submitted to the Cabinet Office. The nomination should be kept strictly confidential, to avoid disappointment should an application be unsuccessful. A finite number of awards are available for each honours list and therefore nominations are measured against submissions from across the nation. If a nomination proves unsuccessful, it is sometimes possible for the Lord-Lieutenant to arrange some other form of recognition, as a ‘thank you’ for exceptional service.
Contact details for further information not available on the website –
Honours and Appointments Secretariat
1 Horse Guards Road
Tel: 020 7276 2766
British Empire Medal (BEM)
The BEM was reintroduced by the Prime Minister in 2011 and the first awards were announced in the New Year’s Honours List in 2012. It is intended to honour people for local and exceptional work within their communities.
HM The Queen has asked the Lord-Lieutenant to make the awards of BEMs within Kent.
The Lord-Lieutenant will be holding two investitures a year, at Penshurst Place, each one following the publication of the Honours List. Recipients will receive details of the investiture from the Deputy Clerk to the Lieutenancy as soon as a date is announced, usually within three months of the announcement. Any recipient not able to attend will have their presentation carried forward to the next investiture.
In exceptional circumstances, such as a recipient being house-bound, through ill-health or circumstances which make it impossible for a recipient to attend an investiture, the Deputy Clerk to the Lieutenancy will make alternative arrangements for the presentation to take place privately.
Recipients will automatically be invited to a Royal Garden Party, the year following their award being gazetted.
Anyone wishing to nominate an individual for an award of the BEM should go to https://www.gov.uk/honours and download an application form.
The Elizabeth Cross
The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice. The Elizabeth Cross is not a posthumous medal for the fallen but an emblem demonstrating tangible national recognition for Service families for their loss.
Not all deaths of Service personnel are included in this scheme. The death of any service person, whatever the circumstances, is a tragic loss to his or her family and to the Armed Forces as a whole, but the Elizabeth Cross was instituted specifically to recognise the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism, and the particular burden this places on Service families.
The first Elizabeth Crosses and Memorial Scrolls are to be granted from 1 August 2009 (and will be retrospective to the end of the Second World War). All eligible Next of Kin of those who died between 1 January 1948 to date are strongly advised to apply, although the MOD Medal Office will endeavour to establish contact with the more recent eligible families, where up to date contact details are held. Further details and application forms can be seen at:
Applications for a Congratulatory Message from HM The Queen
Cards from HM The Queen containing a congratulatory message can be sent to individuals celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter. This card is contained in a special envelope, which is delivered through the normal postal channels.
The delivery of these congratulatory messages is arranged by the Anniversaries Office within the Private Secretary’s Office in the Royal Household located at Buckingham Palace.
In order to request a congratulatory message from Her Majesty The Queen, friends or family must complete download and complete an application form (click here). Please return it to the Anniversaries Office, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA no sooner than three weeks before the celebration date. It is possible to receive a belated message up to six months after the event. The Anniversaries Office will write to confirm that the application has been received and approved.
Please note that you do need to provide the Anniversaries Office with documentary proof of the occasion – a photocopy of the celebrant’s birth certificate, which will be returned to you in due course. You will receive prompt acknowledgement of your application confirming that a message will be sent and returning all documents to you.
To receive a congratulatory message from HM The Queen for Diamond (60th), 65th and Platinum (70th) wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter, it is necessary to complete an application form (click here). Please return it to the Anniversaries Office, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA no sooner than three weeks before the celebration date. It is possible to receive a belated message up to six months after the event.
Please note that it will be essential for you to provide the Anniversaries Office with documentary proof of the occasion – a good photocopy of the celebrants’ marriage certificate, which will be returned to you. You will receive prompt acknowledgement of your application, confirming that a message will be sent and returning all documents.
If necessary, you can obtain a certified copy of birth or marriage certificates from:
The General Register Office (Anniversary Section)
The Office for National Statistics
Merseyside PR8 2HH
Telephone 0845 603 7788
Her Majesty does not send a message for Silver (25th), Ruby (40th) or Golden (50th) Wedding Anniversaries.