LONDON – Those at the forefront of the U.K.'s response to Russia's war in Ukraine joined Queen guitarist Brian May and a fashion designer dubbed “the mother of the miniskirt” on the country’s New Year's Honors list on Friday.
Artists, community leaders and members of England's award-winning women's soccer team were also among the more than 1,100 people included in this year’s list, the first to be signed off by King Charles III.
May, who is also an animal welfare campaigner, was appointed a knight bachelor for his services to music and charity. The former Queen guitarist, who also holds a doctorate in astrophysics, said he regarded his new title as “a kind of commission to do the things one would expect a knight to do — to fight for justice, to fight for people who don’t have any voice.”
Mary Quant, the 92-year-old designer best known for popularizing the miniskirt during the 1960s, received the U.K.'s top honor for her services to fashion. Quant’s appointment to the Order of the Companions of Honor, a special status held by no more than 65 people at any one time, came seven years after she was made a dame — the female equivalent of a knight — in recognition of her designs.
Artist Grayson Perry, known for his tapestries and ceramics, was also knighted for services to the arts.
Elsewhere, diplomats shaping the U.K.'s response to the war in Ukraine were recognized, with damehoods for the ambassadors to both Kyiv and Moscow, and a British Empire Medal (BEM) for a campaigner who led donation drives for Ukrainian refugees.
Nanny Louenna Hood, 37, who raised more than 160,000 pounds through online auctions, said she was “completely stunned” to be recognized.
“I started the campaign, but I would never have been able to do it without the community,” she said.
Half of this year’s honors went to women, including members of the England soccer team that won the 2022 Women's European Championship and the first woman to lead a major U.K bank.
England captain Leah Williamson received an OBE, while teammates Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Ellen White were all made MBEs.
Alison Rose, the chief executive of banking group NatWest and the first woman to run one of the U.K.'s largest banks, was also awarded a damehood.
U.K. monarchs have awarded honors as part of orders of chivalry since the Middle Ages. In modern times, nominations are submitted to the government’s Cabinet Office and vetted by a committee before being passed on to the prime minister and the monarch for approval.
Others honored this year included those campaigning for environmental and climate change action, youth engagement and combating discrimination. Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who received a knighthood, was among several Jewish community leaders to be recognized.