Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Order of the Companions of Honour

Founded by King George V in June 1917, the Order of the Companions of Honour is a British and Commonwealth honour awarded for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry and religion. It consists of the Sovereign and one class of members, and carries no title or precedence although the postnominal letters CH are used. Not more than 65 people are admitted, with a quota of 45 members for the United Kingdom, 7 for Australia, 2 for New Zealand and 11 for other countries.

The insignia of the Order consists of an oval medallion with an oak tree, a shield with the royal arms hanging from one branch, and on the left a mounted knight in armour. The badge's clear blue border bears the motto IN ACTION FAITHFUL AND IN HONOUR CLEAR in gold letters, and the oval is surmounted by an imperial crown. Men wear the badge round their necks, and women from a bow at the left shoulder.

Current Companions of Honour include naturalist David Attenborough, actor Paul Scofield, scientist Stephen Hawking, playwright Harold Pinter, and former Prime Minister John Major.

See also the list of people who have declined a British honour.