Honours and awards
- National Honours
The National honours system offers public recognition to people in all walks of life and all sections of society who have given exceptional service and made a difference in their community or in the country. There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution.
Anyone can receive an award if they reach the required standard of merit or service, and honours lists contain a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. Anyone can nominate someone for an award but it is important to note that longevity in a position is not sufficient in itself.
The honours committees decide which awards will be offered.
- Elizabeth Cross Medal
The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism.
The Elizabeth Cross is not a posthumous medal for the fallen, but an emblem that recognises the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism. It demonstrates tangible national recognition for Service families for their loss and sacrifice.
- Queen's Awards
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
This award is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK and is the equivalent of an MBE.
Any group of two or more people doing volunteering work can be nominated for the award. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are highly prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development.
- Birthday and Anniversary messages from HM The Queen
Cards from HM The Queen containing a congratulatory message can be sent to individuals celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter. This card is contained in a special envelope, which is delivered through the normal postal channels.
Congratulatory messages from HM The Queen can be requested for 60th (Diamond), 65th and 70th (Platinum) wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter.
The delivery of these congratulatory messages is arranged by the Anniversaries Office within the Private Secretary’s Office in the Royal Household located at Buckingham Palace.
- Royal Garden Parties
These are held at Buckingham Palace at least three times a year. The dress is morning dress, lounge suits or uniform for gentlemen and day dress or trouser suits (usually with hats) for ladies. National dress may be worn.
People from all sections of the community are invited, usually through organisations such as the Government, Armed Services, Diplomatic Corps, Police, Church and other Faiths, charities, societies and the Lord-Lieutenants, who nominate guests, within a quota. In this way a representative cross-section of the national life is invited. For this reason individuals cannot apply for an invitation and as a general rule people are only invited the once. Invitations are sent out by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office in the Lord Chamberlain’s name on behalf of The Queen.