Honours and Awards

The Lord-Lieutenant is often called upon to make presentations on behalf of His Majesty The King. Some National Awards, such as the OBE and MBE, may need to be presented locally if a recipient is unable to attend an investiture.


The British Empire Medal, BEM is always presented by the Lord-Lieutenant, and medals may be presented to military personnel or civilians at local ceremonies by the Lord-Lieutenant, Vice Lord-Lieutenant, or one of his Deputy Lieutenants.


Similarly, King’s Awards for Enterprise or Voluntary Service are usually presented at a local venue arranged by the company or organisation which has been honoured.


Elizabeth Cross

In 2009 Queen Elizabeth II gave her name to a new form of recognition for the families of British Service personnel killed while serving their country.


The Elizabeth Cross and miniature are awarded to the relatives of Her Majesty’s Forces personnel killed on active service, together with a Memorial Scroll signed by Her Majesty The Queen. This is the first time Queen Elizabeth II had given her name to a new award. It is granted to the next of kin of Armed Forces personnel killed on operations, or as a result of terrorism, as a mark of national recognition for their loss.


Next of kin receive the Elizabeth Cross – a sterling silver emblem in the shape of a cross over a wreath – plus a Memorial Scroll signed by The Queen which bears the name of the person who died. It is usually presented by the Lord-Lieutenant.


In a message, Queen Elizabeth II said:


“This seems to me a right and proper way of showing our enduring debt to those who are killed while actively protecting what is most dear to us all. The solemn dignity that we attach to the names of those who have fallen is deeply engrained in our national character. As a people, we accord this ultimate sacrifice the highest honour and respect. I greatly hope that the Elizabeth Cross will give further meaning to the nation’s debt of gratitude to the families and loved ones of those who have died in the service of our country. We will remember them all.”


The arms of the Elizabeth Cross bear floral symbols representing England (Rose), Scotland (Thistle), Ireland (Shamrock) and Wales (Daffodil). The reverse of the cross is engraved with the name of the person in whose memory it is granted.


It is not just granted to families who have lost loved ones in the recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Queen’s recognition is also available to the families of those who died in conflicts dating back to 1948, including the Korean War, the Falklands conflict and operations in Northern Ireland. Therefore, families of those Service personnel who have died since 1948 are invited to read the information on the MOD Medal Office website which includes information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply.


British Empire Medal (BEM)

The British Empire Medal (BEM) was established in 1922 to replace the Medal of the Order of the British Empire. The British Empire Medal is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters “BEM” and it is divided into civil and military medals in a similar way to the Order of the British Empire.


While recipients are not technically counted as members of the Order, these medals are nevertheless affiliated with it. The BEM was awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom until 1992, after which time it lay in abeyance in the United Kingdom, although was still awarded in some Commonwealth realms. It was brought out of abeyance in June 2012, for the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.


King’s Awards for Enterprise

The King’s Awards for Enterprise are highly prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development. The King’s Award for Enterprise Promotion is awarded to individuals who encourage entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in others.


The awards are made annually by His Majesty The King and are only given for the highest levels of excellence. They are judged to a demanding level and winners receive several benefits and worldwide recognition.


Previous corporate winners have come from a diverse selection of business sectors and have included large and small businesses. Recipients of the individual award have been from varied social and professional backgrounds.


The closing date for entries is the last working day of September each year and the winners are announced on the 21st April the following year.


For further enquiries call The King’s Awards helpline on 020 7215 6880 or email kingsawards@beis.gov.uk.


Click here for more information and to apply


King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS)

Do you know of a volunteer group that devotes its time to helping others in your local area and deserves a King’s Award for Voluntary Service?


The King's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups, recognising the outstanding work they perform within their communities.


Go to https://kavs.dcms.gov.uk and submit your nomination between 1 April and mid September to make sure they are considered for an award the following year.


You shouldn’t be part of the group, entry is free and you can make your nomination at any time.


The winners are announced on 14 November every year and they will receive a domed glass crystal and a certificate signed by The King.


Make your nomination for the King’s Award for Voluntary Service today!


The Award recognises the vital role played by the hundreds of thousands of ‘unsung heroes’ of the voluntary and community world and emphasises the importance of continuing recognition of their work.


You can nominate a group (two or more persons) for the Award if:


  • it is providing a high quality service to benefit individuals or groups in the community;
  • it is operating and providing a service in the United Kingdom;
  • it has been operating for a minimum of 3 years (exceptions may be made for short-term projects);
  • it is made up entirely of volunteers (including trustees), or it includes some paid staff, but they must be in the minority of those involved.


A group solely involved in fundraising activities for charitable purposes e.g. street collections, jumble sales or charity shops, is not eligible unless it is also providing a service to the community. Examples of services are concerts, fêtes and hospital café facilities. Groups operating outside the United Kingdom are not eligible.


The UK Honours System

The honours system recognises merit and service to the nation. There are several different types of awards, each one recognising a different type of contribution.


Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in mid-June. 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.