How to get a Queen’s honour

As the world’s leading Queen’s honours nomination drafting experts, the three questions we are most frequently asked are:

1. What sort of people get a Queen’s honour?

The honours system recognises people who’ve made great achievements in public life
and people who’ve committed themselves to serving Britain. They will usually
have made life better for other people or are outstanding at what they do.

People get honours for achievements like:

– making a difference to their community or field of work

– enhancing Britain’s reputation

– long-term voluntary service

– innovation and entrepreneurship

– changing things, with an emphasis on achievement

– improving life for people less able to help themselves

– displaying moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices

Honours are given to people involved in different activities, including:

– health

– economy (including business etc)

– arts and media                                                                                                                                                               

– education                                                                                                                                                                         

– community, voluntary and local services

– sport

– state (including civil service, politicians etc)                                                                                          

2. What are the main types of Queen’s honours and what are they awarded for?


A major contribution in any activity, usually at national level. Other people working
in the nominee’s area will see their contribution as inspirational and
significant, requiring commitment over a long period of time.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

A prominent but lesser role at national level, or a leading role at regional
level. You can get one for a distinguished, innovative contribution to any

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

A major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known
nationally in their chosen area.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

A significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. Also
awarded for local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to others.

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Reintroduced in 2012, this rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative,
high-impact work of a relatively short duration (eg 3 to 4 years).

3. Who decides if someone should receive a Queen’s honour and at what level?

The honour someone gets is decided by the honours committees and their decisions
are passed through the Prime Minister to the Queen, who awards the honour.

Honours committees are made up of senior civil servants (‘official members’) and people
who are independent of government (‘independent members’). All honours committees
have a majority of members who are independent.

Each honours committee has an independent chairperson. A representative from 10
Downing Street is invited to attend all committee meetings

Honours committees review honours nominations for people involved in specific
activities (like arts and media or business) which are then sent to the main

Honours committees made up of experts and civil servants compare similar nominations,
eg teacher with teacher, doctor with doctor etc.

Click on the following link for more information about how to get a Queen’s honour