How to apply for a Queen's honour

Want to know your chances of success? Find out the criteria you need to meet for a successful Queen's honour nomination today by calling us now on +44 (0)1444 230130 or email to book your free informal Queen's honours assessment. 

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Who can be nominated?

Each honours list contains a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and anyone can receive an award if they reach the required standard of merit or service.

Already honoured or not yet on the honours list? Anyone can be re-nominated for an honour or nominated for a higher level honour, so long as at least two years have passed since the original nomination, and there is a clear difference between the first nomination and the next - for example new work or achievements are clearly cited and evidenced. 

Some regions are under-represented in the honours lists, notably the Midlands, Yorkshire, Humberside and the North of England. Women and various ethnic groups are also often in the lower percentage of those recognised, so please help us to redress the balance!

As the honours website says, anyone can be nominated, but only exceptional people are honoured. So if you want to see yourself or your candidate on the honours list, make sure your nomination has what it takes to make it all the way to Buckingham Palace by ensuring that the nomination form and letters of support contain accurate and detailed information and are of the highest possible standard.

Achievement comes in many forms but honours committees are looking for someone who has made a real difference in their field of work or community.

Honours can be awarded for all sorts of work - paid or unpaid - but you or your nominee must still be involved in the activity for which they are nominated. If you know someone that might be eligible for an honour but they are thinking of retiring or changing their role in the next few years, get them nominated sooner rather than later!

Before you make a nomination, ask yourself, has the nominee:

  • Made a difference to their community or field of work?

  • Brought distinction to British life and enhanced its reputation?

  • Exemplified the best sustained and selfless voluntary service?

  • Demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship?

  • Carried the respect of their peers?

  • Changed things, with an emphasis on achievement?

  • Improved the lot of those less able to help themselves?

  • Displayed moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices?

What happens to a nomination?

It takes around 12 - 18 months for a nomination to be considered.

Nominations are collated and then segregated according to the nominee's area of expertise. Expert committees then compare like with like - for instance, teacher with teacher - and the best candidates are put forward to the Prime Minister, who presents the list to The Queen.

Once The Queen has given her informal approval, letters are sent to each nominee asking whether they would be willing to accept the proposed award. Once they have replied a final list is submitted to The Queen for formal approval.

Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in mid-June on the date of The Queen's official birthday.

Which level?

You do not need to state this in the nomination.

The main honours are:

Knight / Dame

Awarded for a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity, through:

  • Achievement or service to the community usually, but not exclusively, at national or international level

  • in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally and which demonstrates sustained commitment

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Awarded for:

  • a prominent national role of a lesser degree or

  • a conspicuous leading role in regional affairs

  • through achievement or service to the community or

  • making a highly distinguished, innovative contribution in his or her area of activity

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Awarded for:

  • a distinguished regional or country-wide role in any field

  • achievement or service to the community

  • as a notable practitioner known nationally

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Awarded for:

  • achievement or service in and to the community of a responsible kind which is outstanding in its field or

  • local 'hands-on' service which stands out as an example to others

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Awarded for:

  • a sustained, local contribution

  • innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration (eg 3 to 4 years).

There is no application fee or nomination deadline and it can take 12-18 months for a decision.

Awards intelligence have extensive experience of helping people to apply for Queen’s honours and have probably drafted more nominations than anyone else in the world.

Our clients have enjoyed success right up to knighthood level.

Let us professionally handle the nomination process for you from start to finish. Our services range from drafting the nomination itself to managing the letters of support with the supporters. By undertaking a high level of research of the nominee’s achievements we will not only save you valuable time, we will also significantly increase your chances of success.

To find out more, take a look at our Queen’s honours page and either give us a call on +44 (0)1444 230130 or email for a free assessment of your chances of success.

The Foreign Secretary’s Overseas Honours List

Who is eligible for a nomination to the Foreign Secretary’s Overseas List?

The List is made up of awards given to UK citizens and citizens of a Commonwealth country of which HM The Queen is Head of State.

Nominees are recommended for honours for their outstanding achievements in their professional, business, community and charity work outside of the UK. 

Is there a deadline for a nomination?

Two Lists are published each year as part of the New Year and Birthday Honours Lists in January and June respectively.

Nominations may be submitted at any time, but the usual deadline is mid-May for the next New Year’s Honours and mid-November for the next Birthday Lists.

Can non-UK citizens be nominated for an award?

Honorary awards can also be made to non-UK citizens. These will not appear on the DS&O List but will be published on the website once approved by HM The Queen.

To find out more about our bespoke Overseas Honours List nomination service simply contact us for your free, no obligation assessment today. 


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Sue Hall, Awards Intelligence

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