England Soccer Captain, Monty Python Comic Earn U.K. Honors
(Bloomberg) -- England’s soccer captain Harry Kane, top scorer at this year’s World Cup, was rewarded on the U.K. New Year’s Honors List, which included Monty Python comedian Michael Palin, “Handmaid’s Tale” author Margaret Atwood and London Stock Exchange Chairman Donald Brydon.
Former Cabinet minister John Redwood was granted a knighthood, potentially opening up Prime Minister Theresa May to criticism that she’s using honors to try to win over critics of her Brexit deal in her ruling Conservative Party. Opposition lawmakers accused her of doing just that when she granted former Transport Minister John Hayes the same honor in November.
Redwood has repeatedly spoken out against the terms May negotiated for the U.K.’s departure from the European Union; Parliament is scheduled to vote on her deal in January. Still, just two other lawmakers made the knighthood list: Gary Streeter, a Tory who supports May’s deal, and Alan Campbell from the opposition Labour Party. All three will be able to use the title “Sir.”
The list published Friday included honors for 1,148 Britons aged from 22 to 100, many rewarded for their work in areas ranging from beekeeping and prehistoric rock art to 3-D printing. Seventy percent of awards were for community work; 47 percent were to women and 12 percent to ethnic minorities, reflecting a push to be more representative of British society.
Kane was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), while his team manager Gareth Southgate was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Other sporting honors included knighthoods for former England Rugby Captain Bill Beaumont and former England Cricket Captain Alastair Cook, the country’s leading run scorer.
This year’s Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, was made an OBE, while two world champions -- rower Frances Houghton and triathlete Helen Jenkins -- both received MBEs.
One of the most exclusive awards was given to Booker Prize-winning Canadian author Atwood. She was made a Companion of Honour, an order rewarding achievement in politics, industry, science and the arts that’s limited to just 65 people at any one time. Other current members include former British Prime Minister John Major and the former Beatle, Paul McCartney.
Palin was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, an award for those who have served the U.K. abroad. Since achieving fame as part of the Monty Python surrealist comedy group, he’s specialized in travel documentaries and writing.
Oscar-nominated actress Sophie Okonedo, whose credits include the film “Hotel Rwanda,” was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), while “Crash” actress Thandie Newton, won an OBE. Hollywood director Christopher Nolan, whose films include “The Dark Knight” and “Dunkirk,” was awarded a CBE.
London Stock Exchange’s Brydon, who is also chairman of software company Sage Group Plc, was awarded a knighthood, as was James Leigh-Pemberton, chairman of U.K. Financial Investments, which manages Britain’s stake in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. Jon Thompson, chief executive officer of the U.K. tax authority was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
Honors for women in business included former Virgin Money Chief Executive Officer Jayne-Anne Gadhia and Stagecoach Holdings Plc co-founder Ann Gloag, who were made dames. Damehoods also went to Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar USA, and Twiggy, a model, actress and singer whose real name is Lesley Lawson.
Whitbread Plc CEO Alison Brittain received a CBE, as did Ian McCafferty, a former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, and Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens AG’s U.K. unit.
A total of 43 awards went to responders to terrorist attacks in Britain in 2017, including assaults on Parliament, London Bridge and an Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester. Richard Stanton, John Volanthen, Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson received bravery awards for their roles in the rescue of a boy’s football team from a flooded cave in Thailand.
Selected other award winners:
CBE: former Nestle USA CEO Paul Grimwood, Burberry Group Plc President Christopher Bailey, Airbus U.K. Senior Vice President Katherine Bennett, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, Children’s author Julia Donaldson, Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore, Post Office Ltd. CEO Paula Vennells.
OBE: Dairy Crest Group Plc CEO Mark Allen, Monzo Bank Ltd. Co-Founder Tom Blomfield, jump jockey Richard Johnson, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s managing director of climate finance Abyd Karmali, Greggs Plc CEO Roger Whiteside.
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