The Queen’s New Year Honors list has been announced, and once again, several leading British actors have been awarded for their services to drama.
Elba, 43, known for his role in the hit BBC crime drama Luther, has described the honor as “beyond special,” while Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in 2014’s Selma, explained why the award has particular sentimental meaning.
Having been given a 325 grant by Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Trust, when Oyelowo was first pursuing his dream to become an actor, he said, “To be honored by the Queen in this way having been aided by her son’s charity feels like a beautiful full-circle moment.”
Veteran actresses Barbara Windsor (famous for her cheeky role in the famous British Carry On films, as well in the soap opera Eastenders) and Sian Phillips are to be given damehoods, while Imelda Stauton, who is currently performing on the West End, will be upgraded from an OBE to a CBE.
Other names from the entertainment industry to be honored include Irish actor, James Nesbitt and Blur frontman Damon Albarn, while medics who helped in the fight against the Ebola epidemic also received knighthoods.
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With 1,196 people on this year’s list, which recognizes the achievements and services of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom, more than three-quarters of recipients have undertaken outstanding work in their communities.
The youngest of them is 13-year-old Jonjo Heuerman from Kent, who will be given a British Empire medal after raising 250,000 for Cancer Research U.K., and the eldest is 99-year-old Dorothy Smart from Hertforshire, recognized for five decades of tireless community work.
The Queen also chose to personally honor one of her favorite designers, Stewart Parvin, who will receive a Royal Victorian Order. The couturier, who has worked with the Queen for many years, also designed her granddaughter Zara Phillips’ wedding dress in 2011.