In the UK, honours are given to people from all walks of life and all sections of society who have made a difference to their community.
Different types of awards
There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution.
Honours are awarded twice a year - in June and at the New Year. There are approximately 1,100 awards on each list, so just over 2,000 each year and most are made in the Order of the British Empire, with some 15 per cent at the highest levels (CBE and above).
The nidirect website has useful information about the honours system, including the nomination process, the different types of awards, and the most recent lists.
You can also download the necessary forms to nominate someone for an award and find out where to send them.
Northern Ireland Honours Secretariat
You can get a congratulatory message from The Queen on special birthdays and certain wedding anniversaries.
What is a Congratulatory Message?
In 1917 His Majesty King George V began the tradition of sending messages of congratulations to those of his subjects celebrating their 100th, 105th and subsequent birthdays and 60th wedding anniversaries. Subsequent reigning monarchs have continued this custom.
Congratulatory messages are issued on the following occasions:
- birthdays - The Queen sends messages to individuals on the occasion of their 100th and 105th birthdays and then every year thereafter
- wedding anniversaries - you can request that The Queen sends her congratulations on Diamond (60th), 65th and Platinum (70th) wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter
Congratulatory messages consist of a card from Her Majesty. They come in a distinctive envelope, are sent special delivery through the Royal Mail and arrive, when possible, on the day of the anniversary.
Leaflet about Congratulatory Message from Her Majesty The Queen
How do you receive a congratulatory message?
For those celebrating their 100th, 105th and subsequent birthdays or those married in Northern Ireland there is detailed information about how to receive a congratulatory message from Her Majesty The Queen on the nidirect website. It includes the procedures you need to follow.
You must contact the Centenarian and Anniversary Clerk to request a congratulatory message at least six weeks before the birthday or anniversary date. Before you apply, please read the Centenarian and Anniversary Branch privacy notice.
For those married outside Northern Ireland please go to the Official website of the British Monarchy.