The list is particularly heavy with Britain’s Olympic heroes, but it also includes Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, eccentric English singer Kate Bush, illustrator Quentin Blake, and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the royal aide who helped organize the watched-around-the-world wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. All of Britain’s gold medalists from this year’s games were on the list, with cyclist Bradley Wiggins and sailor Ben Ainslie honored with knighthoods.
Sebastian Coe, who masterminded the games as chairman of the London organizing committee, was made a Companion of Honor — a prestigious title also awarded to Higgs. But Ken Livingstone, London’s former mayor, said Saturday he turned down a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, recognizing his services to the Olympics because he doesn’t believe politicians should get the queen’s honors.
Britain’s honors are bestowed twice a year by the monarch, at New Year’s and on her official birthday in June. Although the queen does pick out some lesser honors herself, the vast majority of recipients are selected by government committees from nominations made by officials and members of the public.