Order of the Companions of Honour

The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded on 4 June 1917 by King George V as a reward for outstanding achievements and is "conferred upon a limited number of persons for whom this special distinction seems to be the most appropriate form of recognition, constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit."[1]

Order of the Companions of Honour
Riband and badge of the "Companions of Honour"
Awarded by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms
Established4 June 1917
MottoIn Action Faithful and in Honour Clear
Awarded forNationally important service
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
GradesCompanion (CH)

Ribbon bar of the order

Founded on the same date as the Order of the British Empire,[1] it is sometimes regarded as the junior order to the Order of Merit.[2] Now described as "awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time",[3] the first recipients were all decorated for "services in connection with the war" and were listed in The London Gazette.[4] The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court is now the Chapel of the Order.[5]


The order consists of the Sovereign and a maximum 65 members. Additionally, foreigners or Commonwealth citizens from outside the realms may be added as honorary members. Membership confers no title or precedence, but those inducted into the single-class order are entitled to use the post-nominal letters CH. Appointments can be made on the advice of Commonwealth realm prime ministers.[2] For Canadians, the advice to the Sovereign can come from a variety of officials.[6]

Originally, the order was limited to 50 ordinary members, but in 1943 it was enlarged to 65, with a quota of 45 members for the United Kingdom, seven for Australia, two each for New Zealand and South Africa, and nine for India, Burma, and the other British colonies. The quota numbers were altered in 1970 to 47 for the United Kingdom, seven for Australia, two for New Zealand, and nine for other Commonwealth realms. The quota was adjusted again in 1975 by adding two places to the New Zealand quota and reducing the nine for the other countries to seven.[7]

While still able to nominate candidates to the Order, the Cabinet of Australia has effectively stopped the allocation of this award to that country's citizens in preference to other Australian honours. Margaret MacMillan, a Canadian historian, was given the award in 2017. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a New Zealand soprano, was given the award in 2018. Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author, was appointed in 2019.


The insignia of the order is in the form of an oval medallion, surmounted by an imperial crown, and with a rectangular panel within, depicting on it an oak tree, a shield with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom hanging from one branch, and, on the left, a mounted knight in armour. The insignia's blue border bears in gold letters the motto IN ACTION FAITHFUL AND IN HONOUR CLEAR, Alexander Pope's description (in iambic pentameter) in his Epistle to Mr Addison of James Craggs, later used on Craggs' monument in Westminster Abbey. Men wear the badge on a neck ribbon (red with golden border threads) and women on a bow at the left shoulder.

Current Companions

Member number[n 1]NamePost-nominalsKnown forDate of appointmentAge
01 (237) Sir Michael SomareGCL, GCMG, CH, PCFormer Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea3 June 197883
02 (246) Doug AnthonyAC, CH, PCFormer Deputy Prime Minister of Australia31 December 198189
03 (267) The Lord TebbitCH, PCPolitician31 July 198788
04 (270) The Lord Baker of DorkingCH, PCPolitician13 April 199285
05 (271) The Lord Brooke of Sutton MandevilleCH, PCPolitician13 April 199285
06 (278) The Lord King of BridgwaterCH, PCPolitician13 April 199286
07 (282) Dame Janet BakerCH, DBEOpera singer31 December 199386
08 (287) The Lord OwenCH, PCPolitician11 June 199481
09 (289) Sir David AttenboroughOM, CH, CVO, CBEBroadcaster and naturalist30 December 199593
10 (291) The Lord Hurd of WestwellCH, CBE, PCPolitician30 December 199589
11 (294) David HockneyOM, CHArtist14 June 199782
12 (296) The Lord HeseltineCH, PCPolitician2 August 199786
13 (297) The Lord Patten of BarnesCH, PCPolitician and former Governor of Hong Kong31 December 199775
14 (298) Peter BrookCH, CBETheatre director13 June 199894
15 (299) Sir John MajorKG, CH, PCFormer Prime Minister of the United Kingdom31 December 199876
16 (300) Bridget RileyCH, CBEArtist31 December 199888
17 (305) John de ChastelainCC, CMM, CD, CHCanadian general and diplomat31 December 199882
18 (311) Sir Harrison BirtwistleCHComposer30 December 200085
19 (316) James LovelockCH, CBE, FRSScientist and environmentalist31 December 2002100
20 (317) Dan McKenzieCH, FRSGeophysicist14 June 200377
21 (318) The Lord Hannay of ChiswickGCMG, CHDiplomat14 June 200374
22 (320) Dame Judi DenchCH, DBEActress11 June 200585
23 (321) Sir Ian McKellenCH, CBEActor31 December 200780
24 (322) The Lord Rogers of RiversideCH, FRIBA, FREng, RAArchitect14 June 200886
25 (323) The Lord Howard of LympneCH, QC, PCPolitician11 June 201178
26 (324) The Lord Young of CookhamBt, CH, PCPolitician20 September 201278
27 (325) The Lord CoeCH, KBEAthlete, politician and organiser of 2012 Olympics29 December 201263
28 (326) Peter Higgs CH, FRSPhysicist29 December 201290
29 (327) The Lord StrathclydeCH, PCPolitician7 January 201359
30 (328) The Lord Campbell of PittenweemCH, CBE, PC, QCPolitician15 June 201378
31 (329) Sir Nicholas SerotaCHCurator15 June 201373
32 (331) The Baroness O'Neill of BengarveCH, CBE, FBA, FRS, FMedSciPhilosopher31 December 201378
33 (332) Dame Maggie SmithCH, DBEActress14 June 201484
34 (333) Kenneth ClarkeCH, QC, PCPolitician22 July 201479
35 (336) Lady Mary PetersLG, CH, DBEAthlete1 January 201580
36 (337) The Lord Young of GraffhamCH, PC, DLPolitician1 January 201587
37 (339) The Lord WoolfCH, PC, FBA, FMedSciJudge12 June 201586
38 (341) Sir Roy StrongCH, FRSLArt historian and museum director1 January 201684
39 (342) Dame Vera LynnCH, DBESinger11 June 2016102
40 (343) The Lord Smith of KelvinKT, CHBusinessman11 June 201675
41 (344) The Baroness AmosCH, PCPolitician and diplomat11 June 201665
42 (345) George OsborneCH, PCPolitician and former Chancellor of the Exchequer4 August 201648
43 (347) Sir Richard EyreCH, CBEDirector31 December 201676
44 (348) Dame Evelyn GlennieCH, DBEPercussionist31 December 201654
45 (349) Sir Alec JeffreysCH, FRSGeneticist31 December 201669
46 (351) The Baroness Williams of CrosbyCH, PCPolitician31 December 201689
47 (352) Sir Terence Conran CHDesigner17 June 201788
48 (353) Sir Mark ElderCH, CBEConductor17 June 201772
49 (354) Dame Beryl GreyCH, DBEDancer17 June 201792
50 (355) Sir Paul McCartneyCH, MBEMusician17 June 201777
51 (356) J. K. RowlingCH, OBEAuthor17 June 201754
52 (357) Dame Stephanie ShirleyCH, DBE, FREngEntrepreneur and philanthropist17 June 201786
53 (358) Delia SmithCH, CBECook and writer17 June 201778
54 (359) The Lord Stern of BrentfordKt, CH, FRS, FBAEconomist17 June 201773
55 (361) The Lord BraggCH, FRS, FBA, FRSLBroadcaster30 December 201780
56 (362) Lady Antonia FraserCH, DBE, FRSLAuthor30 December 201787
57 (363) Margaret MacMillanCC, CHHistorian30 December 201775
58 (364) Richard HendersonCH, FRS, FMedSciBiologist9 June 201874
59 (365) Dame Kiri Te KanawaONZ, CH, DBE, ACSoprano9 June 201875
60 (366) Margaret AtwoodCC, OOnt, CH, FRSC, FRSLAuthor29 December 201880
61 (367) Sir Patrick McLoughlinCH, PC, MPPolitician10 September 201962

Honorary Companions

Member numberNamePost-nominalsKnown forDate of appointmentAge
1 (261) Amartya SenCH, FBAEconomist11 May 200086
2 (304) Bernard HaitinkCH, KBEConductor12 June 200290
3 (340) Desmond TutuCHSocial rights activist and clergyman30 November 201588

See also


  1. The number shown in brackets is the individual's place in the wider sequence of appointment since the Order's inception.


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.