12:06am Saturday 16th June 2012
© Press Association 2014
Take That star Gary Barlow, actors Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh and the designer behind the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Branagh's knighthood left his heart "fit to burst" while Winslet said her CBE made her "very proud to be a Brit".
The list, which sees the revival of the "working-class gong", showcases the best of British talent, with awards also going to actresses Jenny Agutter and Amanda Redman, and chart-topping choirmaster Gareth Malone.
The 2012 Birthday Honours list sees the reintroduction of "working-class gong" the British Empire Medal (BEM), revived by David Cameron in a reversal of John Major's decision to scrap it in 1991. Its return has allowed the honours system to step up its recognition of "hands-on" service to local communities and the Big Society, the head of the Civil Service said.
Barlow's OBE for services to the entertainment industry and to charity comes just days after he masterminded the triumphant diamond jubilee concert for the Queen at Buckingham Palace. He is also at number one with his jubilee anthem Sing and appears to have become the "go to" pop star for royal occasions.
The 41-year-old said: "Growing up, I never dreamt that one day I'd be getting one myself. I enjoy every minute of the work I do, with a lot of it being a reward in itself, so for somebody to decide I should get recognised for that is just amazing."
Creative director for fashion house Alexander McQueen Sarah Burton - who designed the Duchess of Cambridge's striking gown for the royal wedding last year - gets an OBE for services to the fashion industry.
Belfast-born Hollywood star Branagh joins the ranks of the great acting knights. The Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter, recognised for services to drama and to the community of Northern Ireland, said: "I feel humble, elated and incredibly lucky."
Knighthoods also go to Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd and Scottish opera director David McVicar, as well as songwriter and lyricist Richard Stilgoe and Carphone Warehouse founder and chairman Charles Dunstone.
Lord Archer's wife Dr Mary Archer, a champion of patient care and safety, is to become a Dame, along with Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the aquatics centre at the Olympics Park, as well as former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, for service in support of the Olympics.
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