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Queen's Birthday Honours List delayed to pay tribute to COVID-19 heroes

Human Interest

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The Queen's Birthday Honours List, issued annually in early June to mark the monarch's official birthday, will be delayed to later in the year in order to consider the inclusion of people on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the publication of the list, sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of the government, will be moved to the autumn, to be issued between September and November.

"The honours system recognises exceptional contributions made across every part of the UK and will play a key role in demonstrating the nation's gratitude to all those involved in the response," Johnson said in a written statement to Parliament.

"In this context, the Queen has graciously agreed that the Birthday Honours list, due to be published in June, should be postponed until the autumn. This step will allow us to ensure that the list, agreed before this public health emergency developed, reflects the COVID-19 effort, and comes at a time when we can properly celebrate the achievements of all those included," he said.

The Queen bestows honours twice every year, once mid-year to mark her official birthday and a second one to mark the New Year.

In another rare move to bestow an honour outside of those set traditions, the 94-year-old monarch on Wednesday bestowed a knighthood on 100-year-old Tom Moore, an Army veteran who served in India during World War II.

Captain Sir Tom has become a national hero after raising nearly GBP 33 million for healthcare charities in the UK by doing laps of his garden using a walking frame to mark his 100th birthday last month.

"Captain Tom set a marker for generosity, and the public have matched it. Incredibly, it looks as if British people and businesses have now contributed over 800 million pounds just through national fundraising campaigns alone and a great deal more has obviously been raised at a local level," said Oliver Dowden, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

In the usual course, recipients receive their honours during investiture ceremonies at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

However, Buckingham Palace has already announced that investitures planned for June have been postponed and the palace said that talks would be held with Moore and his family on how he will receive his knighthood, given the current coronavirus lockdown.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 18:16 IST