Honours and Awards

The Lord-Lieutenant is often called upon to make presentations on behalf of HM 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 DLs. Similarly, Queen’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 Her Majesty 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 HM The Queen has 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, in 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 be presented by the Lord-Lieutenant.

In a message Her Majesty The Queen 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 which 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.

Click here for more informationClick here for 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’s Diamond Jubilee.

King’s Awards for Enterprise

The King’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity Through Social Mobility.

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 a number of 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 2024 application period opens on 6th May 2023 and the closing date for entries is midday 12 September 2023.  The winners are announced on 6th May 2024.

For further enquiries call The King’s Awards Office 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

Do you know of a volunteer group that devotes it’s time to helping others in your local area and deserves a King’s Award for Voluntary Service?  If you do, nominate them for a King’s Award for Voluntary Service!

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK.  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 (three or more persons) for the Award if:

  • it is made up of at least 3 people
  • be led by volunteers, not paid staff
  • have been running for at least 3 years
  • it is based in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man
  • it provides a specific and direct benefit to their local communities

The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.  Groups operating outside the United Kingdom are not eligible.

Nominees are considered for an award the year after they’re nominated and you can make a nomination between 1 June and mid-September.  You must be independent of the group you’re nominating.

The winners are announced on 14 November in The Gazette and they will receive a domed glass crystal and a certificate signed by the King.  Up to two representatives from the group may also be invited to a royal garden party.

Go to The King’s Award for Voluntary Service – how to make a nomination for further information and guidance for submitting your nominations.

Click here for information and to nominate

The UK Honours System

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

Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in mid-June on the date of The Queen’s official birthday. 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.

To find out more visit: