Catherine Zeta-Jones honoured by Queen Elizabeth II
London: From Wales to Hollywood to ‘Chicago’ — now Catherine Zeta-Jones has an appointment at Buckingham Palace.
Zeta-Jones added a royal honour to Hollywood stardom Saturday when she was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
The Academy Award winner is part of an eclectic list of honourees, announced to mark the queen`s official birthday that includes the founder of the Jimmy Choo footwear label and 1960s rocker Graham Nash.
Swansea, Wales-born Zeta-Jones, 40, began her career in British theatre and television before moving to Hollywood and marrying actor Michael Douglas. The actress, who won a best supporting actress Oscar in 2003 for the musical ‘Chicago,’ can now put the letters CBE after her name.
"I am absolutely thrilled with this honour," Zeta-Jones said in a statement. "As a British subject, I feel incredibly proud. At the same time, it is overwhelming and humbling. And my mum and dad are delighted beyond belief."
Ronald Harwood, 75, a screenwriter whose films include ‘The Dresser’ and the Oscar-winning ‘The Pianist,’ becomes Sir Ronald with the award of a knighthood.
"It`s more exciting than the Oscar because of the secrecy that`s involved," said Harwood, who learned of his honour six weeks ago but was not allowed to tell anyone. "The Oscar is a sudden shock, you take it all in and people make a fuss. But this feels like a very big event."
US-British scientist Charles K. Kao, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for physics for his work on fibre optics, also received a knighthood.
Actress Sophie Okenedo, 41, Oscar nominated for ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE.
Tamara Mellon, co-founder and creative director of designer shoe brand Jimmy Choo, also was awarded an OBE.
Mellon, 42, who is divorced from American banking heir Matthew Mellon, enlisted east London cobbler Jimmy Choo to design a range of high-fashion shoes. The brand, launched in 1996, was embraced by models, celebrities and the fashion-conscious characters on ‘Sex and the City.’ In 2007 Mellon sold her stake to a private equity firm, in a deal which valued the company at 185 million pounds, but remained creative director.
The list also sees a couple of musical rebels join the establishment. John Cale, 68, one of the founders of experimental 60s rock group The Velvet Underground, was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, while Graham Nash, 68, co-founder of Crosby, Stills and Nash, received an OBE.
In literary and artistic honours, Guyana-born novelist Wilson Harris, 89, was awarded a knighthood, and Portugal-born artist Paula Rego, 75, was made a dame, the female equivalent of a knight.
Horror writer James Herbert, 67 — author of spine-tinglers ‘The Rats’ and ‘The Fog’ — said he was "totally staggered and deeply honoured" to receive an OBE.
Restaurateur Prue Leith, 70, and 94-year-old food writer Marguerite Patten, who both helped Britain shake a dire culinary reputation, received CBEs.
Britain`s honours are bestowed twice a year by the monarch — on her official birthday in June and on New Year`s Day — but recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.
In descending order, the honours are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE. Knights are addressed as "sir" or "dame." Recipients of the other honours have no title but can put the letters after their names.
Most of the honours go to people who are not in the limelight, for services to their community or industry.
Former soldier Bryn Parry and his wife Emma, who founded the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity to help wounded troops, were awarded OBEs.
The awards include MBEs for Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, statisticians who devised the Duckworth-Lewis Method, a mathematical system for calculating target scores in cricket matches interrupted by rain.
Other honours went to Susan Gibbs, an announcer at London`s Fenchurch Street railway station, who received an MBE "for services to public transport," and farmer James Fitchie, granted an MBE "for services to ploughing in Northern Ireland."