LONDON – Rocker Rod Stewart has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in her annual Birthday Honors List, which also included recognition for astronaut Tim Peake and “Downton Abbey” star Penelope Wilton.
Stewart, the raspy-voiced singer of “Maggie May,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Some Guys have All the Luck,” was honored in Friday’s list “for services to music and charity.” The 71-year-old will be able to call himself Sir Roderick David Stewart.
Peake, who is nearing the end of a six-month stint aboard the International Space Station, was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, which recognizes “service rendered internationally or in a foreign country.”
The Foreign Office noted that Peake “is the first person to be honored in this order as a British representative in space.”
The astronaut dedicated his award to the “technicians, scientists, engineers, educators, trainers and flight directors, all working in pursuit of one of the greatest scientific and technical challenges of our time — exploring our solar system for the benefit of people on Earth.”
The twice-yearly royal honors reward hundreds of people for services to their community or national life. Most go to people who are not in the limelight, but there is also a sprinkling of famous faces.
Recipients Friday also include 99-year-old singer Vera Lynn, who raised British spirits during World War II with songs including “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “We’ll Meet Again.” She was made a Companion of Honor, an award limited to 65 people “of distinction.”
Wilton, who played indomitable Isobel Crawley in “Downton Abbey,” was made a dame, the female equivalent of a knight.
There were also knighthoods for artist Michael Craig-Martin, Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells and philosopher Roger Scruton.
Broadcasting duo Ant and Dec — Antony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly — were named Officers of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, as were big-voiced actor Brian Blessed and actor-broadcaster Adil Ray.
Margaret Calvert, who designed many of the road signs used across Britain, received an OBE “for services to typography and road safety.”
James Watt and Martin Dickie, founders of beer company BrewDog, were named Members of the Order of the British Empire for services to brewing, and there was also an MBE for street artist Mohammed Ali, known as Aerosol Arabic.
Britain’s honors are bestowed by the monarch at New Year’s and on her official birthday in June. Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.
In descending order, the main honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE. Knights are addressed as “sir” or “dame,” followed by their name. Recipients of the other honors have no title, but can put the letters after their names.