|More women recognized in UK honors list
The gynaecologist who helped deliver the first child of Prince William and his wife Kate was given a knighthood and veteran actress Angela Lansbury was made a dame in Britain's New Year Honors List released Tuesday.
The twice-yearly list of the great and the good – issued at the New Year and on the queen's birthday in June – recognises those who have succeeded in their personal field, or those who have contributed to their community, AFP reports.
But the list has also included unsavory British characters and discredited figures. Previous honorees have been pedophiles and criminals such as Jimmy Savile, the pervert presenter at UK’s state broadcaster BBC. The late Savile was exposed as a serial child sex abuser. Manchester-born egotistical presenter Stuart Hall, also of the BBC, was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2011. Hall, 83, was convicted in July this year and jailed for 30 months after being charged with 14 offenses against girls aged from nine to 17 between 1967 and 1985 in June. He admitted the charges.
Former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Fred Goodwin was also knighted in 2004 only to be stripped of the honor. He presided over the bank's near-collapse in 2008. It was seen as political decision to honor him.
For the first time since the list was founded in 1917 there were more women (51 percent) named than men – and two sportsmen, Andy Murray and David Beckham, were notably absent.
Gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, 70, who delayed his retirement to assist at the birth of Prince George in July, was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
Lansbury, the 88-year-old British-born actress best known for her role as amateur detective Jessica Fletcher in US TV series “Murder, She Wrote,’’ was made a Dame of the British Empire.
But Murray, Britain's first Wimbledon men's singles champion for 77 years, and footballer and global celebrity Beckham were two surprising omissions from the list.
Murray did receive a lesser OBE after his Olympic gold medal in 2012.
Beckham, who announced his retirement earlier this year, was also tipped to be knighted for his sporting success and work on the London 2012 Olympics bid. He received an OBE in 2003.
Those honored included Antony Gormley, the Turner prize-winning sculptor behind the giant rust-colored “Angel of The North'' in northeast England, who was given a knighthood.
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, was awarded the Order of Merit, given to individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning and science.
The other recipient of the OM was world-renowned heart surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.
Cuban-born ballet dancer Carlos Acosta was made a CBE, or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which he said “was a huge surprise -- and I feel privileged to be included.’’
The 40-year-old, a regular guest artist at the Royal Ballet in London, has branched out into choreography, literature and film.
Opera singer Katherine Jenkins, 33, who raises money for charities that assist injured servicemen, said she was “incredibly honored'' after being awarded an OBE.
Veteran actress Penelope Keith, who rose to fame in the 1970s sitcom “The Good Life'', becomes a dame, while the creator and co-star of the hit TV comedy “Gavin and Stacey,’’ Ruth Jones, was given an OBE.
Most of the 1,195 people on the list are not well-known – three-quarters have been honoured for their work in their communities, and two are Downing Street cleaners.
Madeleine Josephine Hennell and Henrietta Shorter received British Empire Medals (BEMs) for their work serving five prime ministers going back to Margaret Thatcher.