Honours, Awards and Recognition

National Honours for Individuals

An Honour is a very special way of acknowledging an individual’s impact on life in Gwent or further afield, for example when they have given service above and beyond what would normally be expected of them. It is straightforward to nominate someone for National Honours and anyone can make a nomination. The nomination must be able to evidence one or more of the following – how the individual has: made a real difference; improved the lives of others; given sustained and selfless service; shown innovation or creativity in delivering lasting results; and earned the respect of colleagues, being seen as an exceptional role model.

When making a nomination you do not need to say what level of award you are aiming at, but as a guide the National Honours are:

Companion of Honour

This is awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time.


This is awarded for having a major contribution in any activity, usually at national level. Other people working in the nominee’s area will see their contribution as inspirational and significant, requiring commitment over a long period of time.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

This is awarded for having a prominent but lesser role at national level, or a leading role at regional level. You can also get one for a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

This is awarded for having a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Awarded for an outstanding achievement or service to the community. This will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Awarded for a ‘hands-on’ service to the local community. This could be a long-term charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration (3 to 4 years) that has made a significant difference.

Overseas Territories Police and Fire Service Medals

Given for service in British Overseas Territories.

Royal Victorian Order (RVO)

An award given by the Queen – usually to people who have helped her personally, like members of the Royal household staff or British ambassadors.

The George Cross

First level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of heroism and courage in extreme danger.

The George Medal

Second level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of great bravery.

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal

Third level civilian medal for bravery: for inspiring acts of bravery.

The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery and The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air

For risk to life.

The Orders

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise

The committee decides which order someone should be a member of.

  • Order of the Bath – Senior civil servants and military officers
  • Order of St Michael and St George – Diplomats and people serving the UK abroad
  • Order of the British Empire – Anyone
  • Companion of Honour (award) – Anyone
  • Royal Victorian Order – People who have served the Queen or the Monarchy in a personal way

Most awards are in the Order of the British Empire.

The Lord Lieutenant is keen to ensure that the efforts of people in Gwent are fully and properly recognised with National Honours and wants to encourage nominations from communities across Gwent.

For more information on nominating somebody for an award / honour please visit:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of:

  • Innovation – for commercial success as a result of innovation
  • International trade – for growth and commercial success in international trade
  • Sustainable development – for commercially successful products, services and management that benefit the environment, society and the economy
  • Promoting opportunity – for social mobility programmes that help people from disadvantaged backgrounds into successful working lives

The awards are valid for 5 years.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Garden Parties

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups, awarded in recognition of work that has significantly benefited others and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering by such groups. The bar is high and organisations must be volunteer-led.

Anyone outside the organisation can nominate at any time. Nominations close each September and decisions are made within a year. Any group of 2 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.

To be nominated the volunteers should do work that:

  • Provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community
  • Is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it
  • Is run locally

Volunteer groups should have been running for 3 years or more to be nominated.

Local assessment panels look at all the nominations and decide which ones to send to the National Award Committee. The committee makes recommendations to the Cabinet Office, which sends a final list to the Queen for her approval.

Nominations for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service can only be made online and more information can be found following the link below.

Three Royal Garden Parties are held at Buckingham Palace every year and about 8000 people attend each party.

In January of each year, the Lord-Lieutenant prepares to submit a list of names to The Lord Chamberlain whom he would recommend for consideration to attend a Royal Garden Party. There are restrictions-for example, all guests should be 18 or over to be invited in their own right.

If you feel that someone in Gwent has made a major contribution to life in the community, or has provided exceptional service in any other way, you could recommend that they are invited to this very special event.

Recommendations should be made via the Lord-Lieutenancy Office.

Congratulatory Messages and Letters

The Queen sends congratulatory messages to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter and those celebrating their 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter. You should apply for a message at least 3 weeks before the day.

Applications can be made via the Lord-Lieutenancy Office.

The Queen receives and replies to literally thousands of letters each year. Anyone can write to The Queen or any member of the Royal family – and, provided the letter isn’t abusive or irrelevant, can expect a reply.