Olympic athletes top the Queen's New Year Honors

Posted Dec 29, 2012 by Tim Sandle
The UK New Years honors list, containing awards officially integrated by the Queen, has been announced . Heading the list are Olympians, along with actors and comedians.
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins  Knighted in New Year honours
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, Knighted in New Year honours
The UK Government has announced the New Years Honors list. On paper these are awarded by the Queen, although most go through the UK Government's Cabinet Office. This time 1,068 individuals were given an award (this time last year 984 awards were given)
Among the honors bestowed, as reported by the BBC, is a knighthood for Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France and fours Olympic golds. Wiggins was also crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.
The sailor Ben Ainslie, was also knighted, along with cyclists Dave Brailsford and David Tanner; and Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey becomes a dame.
Of other sports stars, Katherine Grainger, Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and David Weir become CBEs, and Andy Murray is an OBE. Completing the Olympian theme, Lord Seb Coe has been given a KBE.
For the entertainment sector Ewan McGregor has received an OBE, singer Kate Bush has received a CBE, whilst the illustrator Quentin Blake has been knighted. Blake illustrated many of Roald Dahl's children's books.
From the world of fashion, and designer Stella McCartney has received an OBE and the artist Tracey Emin has received a CBE.
In terms of science, Professor Peter Higgs has been awarded a KBE for his work with particle physics.
Possibly more surprisingly Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, has been awarded a CBE in recognition of her service to women's issues and to charity in the UK and overseas. With the elected politicians, veteran MP Margaret Beckett has been made a Dame and Conservative MP Richard Shepherd has been knighted.
The British honors system is made up of awards of different rank, each with its own acronym. At the top is being made a Companion or Dame, this is followed by knighthoods, then, in the following order, the CBE (Commander of the British Empire), OBE (Order of the British Empire), MBE (Member of the British Empire) and BEM (British Empire Medal). Whilst the terminology of 'Empire' is somewhat antiquated, the awards are a way for the British government and the Crown to recognize its most outstanding citizens of the time. Awards are made twice per year: in the summer as the Queen's Birthday Honors and for the New Year.
The full list of awards has been posted on-line by the Cabinet Office.