When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A rock star? An actor? A gentleman? Some of the lucky celebs on this list have achieved all three! Each year, the royal family awards honorary degrees of the Order of the British Empire. This practice dates back centuries.
In recent years, many celebrities have received these titles. More commonly, men are knighted, while women become ladies. These titles are awarded for service, loyalty, or bravery (or sometimes all three!).
You may be surprised by some of the names on our list. From authors to inventors to directors to music legends, every celebrity on our list has done something to be considered gentlemen and ladies. So let’s look at an eclectic mix of celebrities with at least one thing in common: they all have honorary degrees. However, I’m not sure any of them know how to joust.
Related: 10 of the most unflattering nicknames given to royals
10 Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is known for many things. She is the daughter of the well-known actor Jon Voight. She is also known for her acting ability, her relationship with Brad Pitt, and her willingness to give to charity. As of 2014, she officially became known as a great actress and philanthropist and Honorary Dame. Queen Elizabeth herself gave him recognition at Buckingham Palace. Her official emblem was an Honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.
According to the royal family, Jolie received this distinction for her work to end sexual violence in war zones. Jolie co-chaired the End Sexual Violence in Conflict (ESVC) Global Summit in 2014. Throughout her career, Jolie has shown compassion, kindness and generosity to important organizations like these. While it is unknown where she ranks a lady among her significant achievements, she is certainly no small feat. And by all accounts, she earned the honorary title for herself.
9 Mick jagger
Mick Jagger is a rock and roll legend, the leader of the Rolling Stones. Jagger is unique on this list in that he received public backlash for his knighting. Some of that can relate to Jagger’s unique story. He was a typical rock and roll star for decades. This includes multiple arrests and eight children from five different mothers. His band, the Rolling Stones, is generally considered to be rebellious and anti-establishment, two ideals that are at odds with those of the royal family.
Still, Jagger was keen to take on the title. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, not Prince Charles. He maybe he thought Jagger wasn’t fit to be a knight. The other person who objected to Mick Jagger becoming “Sir Mick” was his former bandmate Keith Richards. The legendary guitarist was also offered a knighthood, but he turned it down. When asked about Jagger’s knighthood, Richards said, “It’s not about the Stones, is it?” I guess you can’t always get what you want. Despite some opposition to Jagger’s knighthood, the ceremony went ahead and he was knighted in 2003.
8 JK Rowling
JK Rowling is best known for the Harry Potter Series and related books. Obviously, she has received numerous accolades for his writing. She is one of the most famous authors on the planet and has inspired many. He Harry Potter The movie franchise has also been a huge success, and two of the actors in those movies have received honorary degrees!
As far as Rowling is concerned, she has received three titles. Two were awarded by the British royal family, an Order of the British Empire (OBE) and a Companion of Honour. The other came from the French government when she was knighted in 2012 by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The OBE was awarded to Rowling by the royal family for her work with charities and welfare organizations. She established the Lumos charity, as well as the Volant charitable trust.
Most of Rowling’s charitable efforts focus on the needs of at-risk women and children. Her French knighthood was bestowed on her for her efforts in literature. In fact, the fifth book of the Harry Potter series (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) was the first book in English to become a best-seller in France. As if Rowling didn’t have enough royal connections, two Harry Potter cast members also have OBE titles: Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith.
7 Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is a highly respected actress with many iconic roles and movies. she is known for fight club, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Planet of the Apes, corpse BrideHe Harry Potter films, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicketand many more.
In 2010 he starred in The king’s speech, playing the role of Queen Elizabeth. While she didn’t win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, she did receive a different (arguably bigger) award. She was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, commonly abbreviated to CBE, in 2011. She dedicated the award to her late father. This award was given to her for her services to the theater in the British Empire.
Following this award, Bowman Carter was appointed to Britain’s National Holocaust Commission, another important honour. However, Helena Bonham Carter was not the only Harry Potter star with a title
6 maggie smith
Maggie Smith is an English actress who has been around since the early 1950s. While she has a very impressive resume, she is known the world over as Professor Minerva McGonagall, the no-nonsense teacher (and head of Gryffindor house) in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
However, before the Harry Potter Even the series had been written, Maggie Smith had an honors degree, an OBE. She became a dame in 1990. She also received a second royal title! In 2014, following the Harry Potter film series, Smith received another title, Companion of Honor (CH). These awards are given to individuals who contribute to the arts, sciences, medicine, or government over an extended period of time. Considering that Dame Maggie Smith is still a working actress (and she has been since 1952), she certainly fits the bill!
5 Steven Spielberg
If you like any movies, you probably like at least one Steven Spielberg movie. He is one of the most prolific directors of all time. Some of his most successful films include Jurassic Park, Eastern Time, Saving Private Ryanand schindler’s listto name a few.
Due to his incredible contributions to the film industry, he was recognized by the royal family with an honorary knighthood. It’s important to know that only British citizens can be official knights (or dames), so many of the titles on this list are unofficial honorifics.
Still, as of 2000, Spielberg is a Knight of the British Empire or KBE for short. For a man with so many accomplishments, it is well deserved that Spielberg is officially an (honorary) gentleman. His knighthood may inspire his next big movie.
4 Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest people in the world. However, he was not recognized for his work with Microsoft. Instead, he was recognized for his work after retirement. Gates has done many charitable endeavors around the world, including in parts of the British Commonwealth. He has focused his efforts on employment, business, education, and volunteer work.
In general, it seeks to reduce poverty in the developing world, often through technological advances. Bill Gates received a knighthood in appreciation for all his great work. He was awarded the KBE (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Since he’s not a British citizen, he’s technically not “Sir Bill Gates”, but he could call himself Bill Gates, KBE if he wanted to. He may prefer Bill Gates, billionaire. Jokes aside, it’s inspiring to see a person with so much money wanting to help others live a better life.
3 Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is a celebrity with many connections. She has had a very impressive career of her own and is well known for the Hallowe’en movies and i miss friday, among others. She was also born part of “Hollywood royalty”. Her father, Tony Curtis, was a famous actor in the ’50s and ’60s. Her mother, Janet Leigh, was also famous. She starred in the iconic Hitchcock movie. Psychopath.
However, Jamie Lee Curtis also has an official title of peerage. That’s because she’s married to Christopher Guest. Or to give her the official title, Baron Christopher Guest. When Guest’s father passed away in 1996, his title passed to his son. This made Jamie Lee Curtis both Hollywood royalty and an official baroness.
2 Elton John
Elton John is an iconic musician whose songs are known throughout the world. He grew up in the London suburbs. John is not only known for his musical prowess but also for his open sexuality. He came out as bisexual in 1975. In 1998, he was the first openly gay person to be knighted.
Elton John has contributed to many charities, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation. He was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his work with this foundation over 15 years. While John may seem a bit standoffish, the knighthood clearly meant a lot to him as he brought his parents and his partner to the ceremony. He has won six Grammy Awards, an Oscar and a Golden Globe, but none of these have “a candle in the wind” to call himself “Sir Elton John.”
1 lewis hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is the newest gentleman on our list. He is a successful Formula One racing driver, one of the most successful of all time. In 2021, Hamilton just missed out on a historic eighth title. Just three days later, in December of the same year, Hamilton was invited to Windsor Castle to receive a knighthood from the Prince of Wales, making him the first Grand Prix driver to be knighted while still active.
At the time of the ceremony, Hamilton was just 36 years old, and his mother was present. While Hamilton was surely upset about missing out on his record eighth title, a knighthood is definitely a worthy consolation prize!
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