These Celebrities have Royal Titles From The Queen Herself

Most people would agree that “Commander of the Order of the British Empire” sounds pretty darn impressive. After all, you’re not just a commander, but the commander of an empire! Titles such as this and others like knight, dame, and royal victorian are given out each year by Queen Elizabeth and other members of the British royal family, and receiving one is understandably a high honor. What’s the process of getting for getting one of these honorary titles though?

Like so many things among the royals, it’s all about formality and the process of getting such an honor is overseen by the Cabinet Office Honours and Appointments Secretariat. Think of it as a sort of board of directors, just a lot more, well, royal. It’s not required that a person be a British citizen, but it certainly helps. Individuals are recognized with the various honors for either their service internationally or service to the United Kingdom in some large capacity. While actually cinching a title can be pretty tricky, getting a nomination isn’t quite as laborious as one might assume.

Nominations are often submitted by different departments of the government, but the public is also invited to nominate individuals whom they think might be worthy of being honored with the title of dame by the Queen herself. Just don’t think getting all of your Instagram followers to nominate you makes you a shoo-in. Nominees still have to make it through the various selection committees and get approval from the prime minister and Queen Elizabeth II.

Those nominees who are selected and accept the proposed honor — yes, people have said “thanks, but no thanks” — are officially announced in the London Gazette twice a year. Once at the start of the new year and again on the Queen’s birthday in mid-June.

Those lucky enough to be chosen are then presented with the honorary title and a medal by the Queen or other members of the royal family during a ceremony at St. James’s Palace.

As to what these different titles mean, well, they’re all about chivalry and service — though the definition of “service” seems pretty flexible. For example, Kate Winslett was given the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2012 for her services of appearing in movies. Angelina Jolie on the other hand, was named a Dame for her charity work in fighting against sexual violence and poverty in third world countries. Another title, Orders of the British Empire, was created in 1917 to recognize “meritorious” actions by civilians or military personnel. Star athlete David Beckham was awarded the honor in 2003 for his work with UNICEF.

In many ways, these royal titles given out are similar to the Kennedy Center Honors in the United States and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. While the former honors contributions to popular culture and the arts, the latter is the highest civilian award of the United States.

Images via People/YouTube

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