The least surprising celebrity being awarded a Queen’s birthday honour is funnyman Lenny Henry.
The comedian, actor, and mainstay of Comic Relief, let the cat out of the bag earlier this week when he announced he was to receive a knighthood on national radio.
He said: “My family are absolutely chuffed and my friends have not stopped congratulating me. I’d like to thank everyone for being so generous and so kind. It is an extraordinary thing and I am absolutely thrilled.”
Also joining the realms of the knights is rock legend Van Morrison.
The accolade is another high point in the Brown Eyed Girl singer’s career which has taken him from the back rooms of Belfast’s pubs to the world’s biggest arenas, winning him critical acclaim along the way.
Welsh rugby great Gareth Edwards is also to receive a knighthood as the former Wales and Lions scrum-half has been recognised for his services to the sport and charity.
I am absolutely thrilledLenny Henry, comedian
England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and local lad Jonny Wilkinson, Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard and England seamer James Anderson lead the modern-day sports stars recognised.
Wilkinson has been made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and another former Wales rugby star Jonathan Davies has been made an OBE. Lampard, Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer, is leaving England with an OBE to join Major League Soccer’s New York City after 609 Premier League appearances and 107 goals, and 106 England caps. While former Sunderland goalkeeper Jim Montgomery, famous for a memorable double save in the 1973 FA Cup final victory over Leeds, will receive a British Empire Medal. Former IBF/WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch will be honoured with an MBE and long-distance runner Jo Pavey, who last year became the oldest European female champion after winning 10,000m gold, also gets an MBE, for services to athletics.
TV presenter Loyd Grossman has said being given his CBE for services to heritage was like “unwrapping a wonderful present”.