Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order
Order (decoration)
An order or order of merit is a visible honour, awarded by a government, dynastic house or international organization to an individual, usually in recognition of distinguished service to a nation or to humanity. The distinction between orders and decorations is somewhat vague, except that most...

 of the Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s. It was founded by King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts
aRts, which stands for analog Real time synthesizer, is an audio framework that is no longer under development. It is best known for previously being used in KDE to simulate an analog synthesizer....

, literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 or religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...


The order consists of the sovereign, plus no more than 65 Companions of Honour with, originally, a quota of 45 members for the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, 7 for Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, 2 for New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and 11 for other Commonwealth realms. It has not been awarded in Australia since 1981, where it has been displaced by the Order of Australia
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

. Additionally, foreigners from outside the realm may be added as "honorary members". Membership of the order confers no title
A title is a prefix or suffix added to someone's name to signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may even be inserted between a first and last name...

, or precedence
Precedence may refer to:* Message precedence of military communications traffic* Order of precedence, the ceremonial hierarchy within a nation or state* Order of operations, in mathematics and computer programming...

, but recipients of this one-class order are entitled to use the post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...


The insignia of the Order consists of an oval medallion with an oak tree, a shield with the royal arms
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

 hanging from one branch, and on the left a mounted knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

 in armour. The badge's clear blue border bears the motto IN ACTION FAITHFUL AND IN HONOUR CLEAR (Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

's description (in iambic pentameter
Iambic pentameter
Iambic pentameter is a commonly used metrical line in traditional verse and verse drama. The term describes the particular rhythm that the words establish in that line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called "feet"...

) in his Epistle to Mr Addison of James Craggs
James Craggs the Younger
James Craggs the Younger , son of James Craggs the Elder, was born at Westminster. Part of his early life was spent abroad, where he made the acquaintance of George Louis, Elector of Hanover, afterwards King George I...

, later used on Craggs' monument in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

) in gold letters, and the oval is surmounted by an imperial crown
Crown (headgear)
A crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a deity, for whom the crown traditionally represents power, legitimacy, immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of life after death. In art, the crown may be shown being offered to...

. Men wear the badge on a ribbon (red with golden border threads) around their necks, and women on a bow at the left shoulder.

Current members

  • Sovereign
    • Elizabeth II
      Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
      Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

  • Members
    1. The Lord Ashley of Stoke
      Jack Ashley, Baron Ashley of Stoke
      Jack Ashley, Baron Ashley of Stoke, CH PC , is a Labour member of the United Kingdom House of Lords. He was Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent South for 26 years, from 1966 to 1992....

       CH PC (1975)
    2.   Malcolm Fraser
      Malcolm Fraser
      John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

       AC CH (1976)
    3. The Lord Glenamara
      Edward Short, Baron Glenamara
      Edward Watson Short, Baron Glenamara, CH PC is a former Labour Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, England. He was a minister during the Labour Governments of Harold Wilson...

       CH PC (1976)
    4.   Sir Michael Somare
      Michael Somare
      Sir Michael Thomas Somare, GCL, GCMG, CH, CF, KStJ, MP was Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea from 2002 to 2011; he had previously been Prime Minister from independence in 1975 until 1980 and again from 1982 until 1985. Somare's first two terms were as a member of the Pangu Party, but he then...

       GCL GCMG CH CF (1978)
    5. The Lord Healey
      Denis Healey
      Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey CH, MBE, PC is a British Labour politician, who served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970 and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 to 1979.-Early life:...

       CH MBE PC (1979)
    6. Sir Brian Talboys
      Brian Talboys
      Sir Brian Edward Talboys, CH, KCB, AC, is a former New Zealand politician. He served as Deputy Prime Minister for the first two terms of Robert Muldoon's premiership. If the abortive "Colonels' Coup" against Muldoon had been successful, Talboys would have become Prime Minister himself.-Early...

       AC CH KCB (1981)
    7.   Doug Anthony
      Doug Anthony
      John Douglas Anthony, AC, CH , is a former Australian politician. He was leader of the National Party from 1971 to 1984, and Deputy Prime Minister from 1971 to 1972 and again from 1975 to 1983.-Early life:...

       AC CH (1981)
    8. Frederick Sanger
      Frederick Sanger
      Frederick Sanger, OM, CH, CBE, FRS is an English biochemist and a two-time Nobel laureate in chemistry, the only person to have been so. In 1958 he was awarded a Nobel prize in chemistry "for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin"...

       OM CH CBE FRS (1981)
    9. The Lord Carrington
      Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington
      Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington, is a British Conservative politician. He served as British Foreign Secretary between 1979 and 1982 and as the sixth Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. He is the last surviving member of the Cabinets of both Harold Macmillan and Sir...

       KG GCMG CH MC PC DL (1983)
    10. The Lord Tebbit
      Norman Tebbit
      Norman Beresford Tebbit, Baron Tebbit, CH, PC , is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet from 1981 to 1987 as Secretary of State for Employment...

       CH PC (1987)
    11. Stephen Hawking
      Stephen Hawking
      Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

       CH CBE FRS FRSA (1989)
    12. The Lord Baker of Dorking CH PC (1992)
    13. The Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville
      Peter Brooke
      Peter Leonard Brooke, Baron Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, CH, PC , is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and was a Member of Parliament representing the Cities of London and Westminster from...

       CH PC (1992)
    14. The Lord King of Bridgwater
      Tom King, Baron King of Bridgwater
      Thomas Jeremy King, Baron King of Bridgwater, CH, PC , is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet from 1983–92, and was the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Bridgwater in Somerset from 1970-2001...

       CH PC (1992)
    15. Dame Janet Baker
      Janet Baker
      Dame Janet Abbott Baker, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English mezzo-soprano best known as an opera, concert, and lieder singer.She was particularly closely associated with baroque and early Italian opera and the works of Benjamin Britten...

       CH DBE (1993)
    16. The Lord Owen
      David Owen
      David Anthony Llewellyn Owen, Baron Owen CH PC FRCP is a British politician.Owen served as British Foreign Secretary from 1977 to 1979, the youngest person in over forty years to hold the post; he co-authored the failed Vance-Owen and Owen-Stoltenberg peace plans offered during the Bosnian War...

       CH PC (1994)
    17. The Lord Hurd of Westwell
      Douglas Hurd
      Douglas Richard Hurd, Baron Hurd of Westwell, CH, CBE, PC , is a British Conservative politician and novelist, who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major between 1979 and his retirement in 1995....

       CH CBE PC (1995)
    18. Sir David Attenborough
      David Attenborough
      Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

       OM CH CVO CBE FRS FZS (1996)
    19. The Lord Howe of Aberavon
      Geoffrey Howe
      Richard Edward Geoffrey Howe, Baron Howe of Aberavon, CH, QC, PC is a former British Conservative politician. He was Margaret Thatcher's longest-serving Cabinet minister, successively holding the posts of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, and finally Leader of the House of Commons...

       CH PC QC (1996)
    20. The Lord Heseltine
      Michael Heseltine
      Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

       CH PC (1997)
    21. David Hockney
      David Hockney
      David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London....

       CH RA (1997)
    22. Peter Brook
      Peter Brook
      Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director and innovator, who has been based in France since the early 1970s.-Life:...

       CH CBE (1998)
    23. Eric Hobsbawm
      Eric Hobsbawm
      Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm , CH, FBA, is a British Marxist historian, public intellectual, and author...

       CH FBA (1998)
    24. Sir John Major
      John Major
      Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

       KG CH PC (1998)
    25. The Lord Patten of Barnes
      Chris Patten
      Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes, CH, PC , is the last Governor of British Hong Kong, a former British Conservative politician, and the current chairman of the BBC Trust....

       CH PC (1998)
    26. Bridget Riley
      Bridget Riley
      Bridget Louise Riley CH CBE is an English painter who is one of the foremost proponents of Op art.-Early life:...

       CH CBE (1998)
    27.   John de Chastelain
      John de Chastelain
      Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain is a retired Canadian soldier and diplomat.De Chastelain was born in Romania and educated in England and in Scotland before his family immigrated to Canada in 1954...

       CH OC CMM CD (1999)
    28. Doris Lessing
      Doris Lessing
      Doris May Lessing CH is a British writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing, The Golden Notebook, and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos....

       CH OBE (2000)
    29. Sir Harrison Birtwistle
      Harrison Birtwistle
      Sir Harrison Paul Birtwistle CH is a British contemporary composer.-Life:Birtwistle was born in Accrington, a mill town in Lancashire some 20 miles north of Manchester. His interest in music was encouraged by his mother, who bought him a clarinet when he was seven, and arranged for him to have...

       CH (2001)
    30. Sir Colin Davis
      Colin Davis
      Sir Colin Rex Davis, CH, CBE is an English conductor. His repertoire is broad, but among the composers with whom he is particularly associated are Mozart, Berlioz, Elgar, Sibelius, Stravinsky and Tippett....

       CH CBE (2001)
    31. Sir George Christie CH (2001)
    32. Sir Michael Howard
      Michael Howard (historian)
      Sir Michael Eliot Howard, OM, CH, CBE, MC, FBA is a British military historian, formerly Chichele Professor of the History of War and Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University, and Robert A...

       OM CH CBE MC FBA (2002)
    33. The Lord Hannay of Chiswick
      David Hannay, Baron Hannay of Chiswick
      David Hugh Alexander Hannay, Baron Hannay of Chiswick, GCMG, CH is a British diplomat.He is married to Gillian Hannay and has four sons and eight grandchildren....

       GCMG CH (2003)
    34. Sir Howard Hodgkin
      Howard Hodgkin
      Sir Gordon Howard Eliot Hodgkin CH, CBE is a British painter and printmaker. His work is most often associated with abstraction.-Early life:...

       CH CBE (2003)
    35. James Lovelock
      James Lovelock
      James Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS is an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurologist who lives in Devon, England. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling...

       CH CBE FRS (2003)
    36. Dan McKenzie CH FRS (2003)
    37. Dame Judi Dench
      Judi Dench
      Dame Judith Olivia "Judi" Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English film, stage and television actress.Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she played in several of William Shakespeare's plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo...

       CH DBE FRSA (2005)
    38.   Anthony Pawson
      Anthony Pawson
      Anthony 'Tony' James Pawson, OC, OOnt, CH, FRS, FRSC , British-born Canadian scientist whose research has revolutionized the understanding of signal transduction, the molecular mechanisms by which cells respond to external cues, and how they communicate with each other...

       CH OC OOnt FRS FRSC (2006)
    39. Sir Ian McKellen
      Ian McKellen
      Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE is an English actor. He has received a Tony Award, two Academy Award nominations, and five Emmy Award nominations. His work has spanned genres from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction...

       CH CBE (2008)
    40. The Lord Rogers of Riverside
      Richard Rogers
      Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside CH Kt FRIBA FCSD is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs....

       CH (2008)
    41. The Lord Howard of Lympne
      Michael Howard
      Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, CH, QC, PC is a British politician, who served as the Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from November 2003 to December 2005...

       CH QC PC (2011)
  • Honorary Members
    1.   Lee Kuan Yew
      Lee Kuan Yew
      Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for three decades...

      Order of St Michael and St George
      The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

    2.   Sydney Brenner
      Sydney Brenner
      Sydney Brenner, CH FRS is a South African biologist and a 2002 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate, shared with H...

       CH FRS (1987)
    3.   Amartya Sen
      Amartya Sen
      Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

       CH (2000)
    4.   Bernard Haitink
      Bernard Haitink
      Bernard Johan Herman Haitink, CH, KBE is a Dutch conductor and violinist.- Early life :Haitink was born in Amsterdam, the son of Willem Haitink and Anna Haitink. He studied music at the conservatoire in Amsterdam...

       CH KBE (2002)

See also

External links

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