Whether you view the Queen's Birthday Honours list as outdated and elitist, or as an important celebration of great British achievement, it's always interesting to see who has been selected. This year, actress Penelope Wilton is made a Dame for services to drama, and Loose Women panellist Janet Street-Porter receives a CBE for services to journalism and broadcasting. "I accepted this honour on behalf of older people whose experiences and expertise can contribute so much and who often feel invisible, overlooked in the workplace and portrayed as 'problems' in the media," Street-Porter said inspiringly. Martine Wiltshire, who lost both her legs in the 7/7 bombings and went on to represent Great Britain in sitting volleyball at the Paralympics, is made a CBE. "I am not accepting this award just for me. I am going to accept for all those volunteers and all those people that helped put me together, and those that support the power of sport," she is quoted as saying by The Independent. Meanwhile, Dame Vera Lynn is made a Companion of Honour, joining the likes of Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench on the prestigious list.
Despite these welcome accolades, the Press Association reports that the proportion of women recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours has actually fallen to a four-year low. While 51.2% of recipients last year were women, that figure has dropped to 46.8% this year, the lowest since 2012, when women comprised just 41.5% of recipients. The Press Association also reports that this year's list features 90 people from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, more than ever before. However, this still represents just 7.8% of the 538 people named in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours. Other high-profile recipients include Rod Stewart, who receives a knighthood for services to music and charity, and TV presenters Ant and Dec, who are awarded OBEs.