The British policeman killed while defending parliament during a terror attack was on Saturday honoured by Queen Elizabeth II, alongside Paul McCartney, J.K. Rowling and Hollywood icon Olivia de Havilland.
Keith Palmer, 48, who was stabbed to death by Khalid Masood following his rampage on Westminster Bridge on March 22, received a posthumous George Medal for bravery in the monarch’s annual birthday honours list.
“Keith acted that day with no thought for his own safety … He paid the ultimate price for his selfless actions,” said London police chief Cressida Dick.
Among the other recipients of honours were singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran; a pensioner who tried to save murdered lawmaker Jo Cox; and the last surviving crew member of the World War II Dambuster raids.
Beatles star McCartney and “Harry Potter” author Rowling were made Companions of Honour, an award for making a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government. The rare order has a maximum of 65 members.
McCartney, who turns 75 on Sunday, called the award “colossal” and a “huge honour”.
CHs were also awarded to designer and restaurateur Terence Conran; conductor Mark Elder, cookery writer Delia Smith, Beryl Grey — the first English ballerina to guest with the Kirov and Bolshoi ballets — and John Sulston, who won the 2002 Nobel Medicine Prize for his gene research.
Hollywood heroine honoured
De Havilland, regarded as the last great star of Hollywood’s golden age and the oldest living Oscar winner, was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) — the female equivalent of a knighthood.
The DBE ranks above commander (CBE), officer (OBE) and member (MBE) in Britain’s main chivalry order.
The 100-year-old US star, who was born to British parents, starred in the 1939 classic “Gone With The Wind” alongside Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.
De Havilland said she was “extremely proud”, adding: “To receive this honour as my 101st birthday approaches is the most gratifying of birthday presents.”
Sheeran, whose latest record “Divide” is the fastest-selling album by a male artist ever in Britain, was made an MBE.
Veteran Scottish comedian Billy Connolly was made a knight bachelor for services to entertainment.
“I am a little embarrassed but deep within me, I’m very pleased,” he said.
Joking about being called Sir Lancelot instead, he added: “Sir Billy doesn’t quite have the same ring.”
Leonard Blavatnik, the richest single man in Britain, was also knighted for his philanthropy.
Oscar-nominated actress Julie Walters and “Absolutely Fabulous” comedy actress June Whitfield were made DBEs.
There were CBEs for illustrator Raymond Briggs, whose 1978 story “The Snowman” remains a Christmas favourite, and for former special forces soldier turned “Bravo Two Zero” author Andy McNab, for his recent services to spreading adult literacy.
Last of the Dambusters
Britain’s last surviving Dambuster, 95-year-old George “Johnny” Johnson, received the MBE after 235,000 people signed a petition calling for his wartime service to be recognised.
The bomb aimer was part of an air force squadron which conducted crucial bombing raids on dams in a bid to damage Nazi Germany’s industrial heartland.
“It is amazing the people have taken so much interest. I have to say I feel honoured that they took that trouble,” he said.
In the gallantry awards, retired major Dominic Troulan received the George Cross for helping to save around 200 people during the Westgate Mall terror siege in Nairobi in 2013.
The GC is Britain’s highest honour for gallantry not in the face of the enemy and he is the first civilian recipient in 41 years.
The 54-year-old Troulan, who carried hostages, including a baby, out of the mall in 12 separate trips, described it as “one of the hardest six hours of my life”.
Though “overawed” by the honour, he said he had “never really got over” the “absolute carnage” he saw.
Bernard Kenny, a 78-year-old miner who was stabbed as he tried to stop the murder of Jo Cox last June, received the George Medal. He said he was “honoured” to receive the award.
In total, 1,109 people received awards, three-quarters of whom undertook outstanding work in their communities.
Source : Gulfnews