Queen's birthday honours list 2022: what is the difference between an MBE, CBE, OBE - what do they stand for?

The Queen’s birthday honours list has nine different awards available

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The Queen is set to honour over one thousand people in her birthday honours list this year.

Every year, special recognition is given to anyone who has made an outstanding contribution to their community.

The list is usually announced every year in June, with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration making it all the more special.

Here is everything you need to know about what these honours mean.

What is the Queen’s birthday honours list?

The Queen’s birthday honours list are a set of awards that are announced every June to recognise people’s contributions and achievements to society.

Katie Piper receiving her OBE in February 2022 (Pic: Getty Images)Katie Piper receiving her OBE in February 2022 (Pic: Getty Images)
Katie Piper receiving her OBE in February 2022 (Pic: Getty Images)

There are two honours lists, one which is published at New Year and the second which is announced on the Queen’s official birthday in June.

There are nine awards available, with only a knighthood or damehood allowing you to be called a sir or dame.

Recipients can put the awards initials at the end of their name, but they don’t hold any legal or significant power.

What do the Queen’s birthday honours mean?

The Queen’s birthday honours recognise exceptional achievements or those who contribute to their local community and society.

The Queen releases her birthday honours list every June (Pic: Getty Images)The Queen releases her birthday honours list every June (Pic: Getty Images)
The Queen releases her birthday honours list every June (Pic: Getty Images)

There are 1,134 people named on the Queen’s 2022 list, with nine different awards on offer.

Here is the complete list of Queen’s honours and what they mean:

Companions of Honour (CH)

The Champions of Honour was created by King George V in 1917.

The award is limited to just 65 recipients who have made an outstanding contribution to government, science, medicine or the arts.

There have been three named in the Queen’s 2022 list, including author Sir Salman Rushdie, illustrator Sir Quentin Blake and professor of English and creative writing Dame Marina Warner.

Dame Grand Cross

The Grand Cross is the highest class Order award available.

There has been one named on the 2022 list: Dame Sue Ion, chairwoman of the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB)

Order of the Bath (DCB/KCB/CB)

This award is for senior military officials and civil servants.

In the 2022 list, the permanent secretary at the Department for Transport Bernadette Kelly, and second permanent secretary at the Treasury Charles Roxburgh, were named.

Order of St Michael and St George (Knight/GCMG/KCMG/DCMG/CMG)

This award recognises someone who has served in a foreign country on foreign or commonwealth affairs.

It is usually awarded to those who work in diplomacy overseas.

Knighthood and damehood (Knight/DBE)

Knighthoods and damehoods are given to people who have made a major national contribution.

Anyone who receives one will be able to use the titles Sir and Dame.

In the 2022 list knighthoods were given to: Author Ian Rankin, MPs Jeremy Wright and Stephen Timms, national medical director at NHS England and NHS Improvement Professor Stephen Powis, and Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone.

In the 2022 list damehoods were given to: former first minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster, MPs Maria Miller and Nia Griffith and chief nursing officer for England Ruth May.

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

A CBE is awarded to anyone who has made a leading contribution to any area of expertise.

The 2022 list names 85 recipients including: actor Damian Lewis, broadcaster Clare Balding, and designer Stella McCartney.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

An OBE is one of the most well-known birthday honours from the Queen.

It is given to someone whose career has a major role locally and internationally.

In the 2022 list 246 people were honoured with the award including: former footballer Rio Ferdinand, cricketer Moeen Ali and MP Chris Skidmore.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

An MBE is awarded to someone who makes a significant contribution to their local community.

In the 2022 list 452 people have been awarded an MBE including: footballer Gareth Bale, singer Bonnie Tyler and founder of Multiverse Euan Blair.

British Empire Medal (BEM)

The newest award, a BEM was introduced by prime minister David Cameron in 2012 in an attempt to make the system “classless.”

The medal was awarded to 304 people in the New Year Honours list.