Following International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, looking back into our history, which of our famous women would have been likely to have been recognised with a Queen’s Honour?
The Honours Committee does not award posthumously and this is unlikely to change. But if our historic female national treasures could be awarded, who would they be?
Undoubtedly journalist Isabella Mary Beeton (1836–1865), the author of Mrs Beeton’sBook of Household Management and the lady who single-handedly modernised Victorian housekeeping and gave it an air of professionalism, should have been made a dame or at least have received a CBE, like many of her modern counterparts. She was the original ‘domestic goddess’ and is still talked about today.
On the science front, Ada Lovelace, Countess of Lovelace (1815–1852), a mathematician and the world’s first computer programmer, was only recognised for her avant garde work nearly a century after her death and would have been a worthy candidate for a minimum of an OBE.
Then there is Marie Stopes (1880–1958), author, paleobotanist and women’s rights campaigner and who introduced the first family planning clinic. She, too, would also have been a brilliant candidate for a high-level award.
Campaigner for human rights Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845), who reformed prisons and fought for better treatment for inmates, would have been an ideal OBE candidate.
Our greatest literary talents must be high on the list for deserving national honours. Jane Austen (1775–1817), who exposed the shallowness and idiocy of society in her great novels including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, would surely be worthy of a CBE or higher, keeping her on a par with Dame Agatha Christie. The same applies to other authors such as Beatrix Potter (1866–1943), who co-founded the National Trust and was the author/artist of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
While many of our famous heroines from the past were never nationally recognised, ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ Florence Nightingale (1820–1910)was one of the few to receive a number of high-ranking awards in her lifetime for being a social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern-day nursing. She was the first women to receive the Order of Merit personally awarded from Queen Victoria; the Order of St John, a royal order of chivalry introduced by Queen Victoria in 1888; and the Royal Red Cross, also established by Queen Victoria for services to military nursing.
Fortunately, today’s outstanding women have a much better chance of receiving the honours they deserve. If you know an exceptional woman who is a high achiever in her field and think she is deserving of a UK honours award, please call us for a free honest assessment of her chances of success on+44 (0)1444 230130 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an independent appraisal of her likely success.