British actor Colin Firth won an Oscar for portraying King George VI in “The King’s Speech,” and now the king’s daughter Queen Elizabeth II will give him another prize.
Firth, who won acclaim for his portrayal of a troubled monarch working to overcome his stutter to make a radio broadcast at the beginning of World War II, will be named a Commander of the British Empire or CBE in the Birthday Honors List published Saturday.
Queen Elizabeth II turned 85 in April, but she has traditionally celebrated an “official” birthday on June 11.
Britain’s honors are bestowed twice a year by the monarch — at New Year’s and on her official birthday in June — but recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.
In descending order, the honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE — Member of the Order ofthe British Empire. Knights are addressed as “sir” or “dame.” Recipients of the other honors have no title but can put the letters after their names.
Most of the honors go to people who are not in the limelight, for services to their community or industry, but they also reward a sprinkling of famous faces. This year, 965 people will receive awards. Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King will receive an enhanced knighthood — a Knight Grand Cross. Robert Edwards, who won a Nobel Prize in 2010 for his work on in-vitro fertilization, will also receive a knighthood.
Singer and songwriter Bryan Ferry will also receive a CBE while golfer Lee Westwood and cricket captain Andrew Strauss will each receive an OBE or Order of the British Empire.
Artist Sam Taylor-Wood and jazz singer Claire Martin will also receive OBEs.