Receiving an honour

  1. Home
  2. Receiving an honour

What you need to do next

Selena Guthrie with her MBE following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.

When an individual has been selected for an honour, they will receive a formal letter of offer and a response form. They should complete and return the form before the stated cut-off date. Instructions on how to return your form to the Honours and Appointments Secretariat will be provided in the offer letter.

Recipients are also invited to return a diversity monitoring survey.

Press Coverage

Individuals will be asked to provide whether or not they are content for the Honours and Appointments Secretariat to provide the media with their details. Participation in publicity is entirely voluntary.

Copies of the Honours List will be given to certain members of national press, radio and television organisations at least 24 hours before the official publication time. This is to help them prepare their reports.

The List is provided to the media on the understanding that they will not make public any information about it before the official publication time. This is known as the “embargo” on reporting. The date on which the embargo lifts will be enclosed with the letter of offer.

During the embargo period:

  • Journalists may approach you to talk about the award. It is entirely up to you whether you wish to give any information in response to their enquiries. However, such information should be held in confidence until the embargo lifts
  • We would like to be able to give the regional media (press, TV, radio) details of some individuals who will be of interest to their readers/viewers/listeners. This helps us showcase some of the fantastic work done by honours recipients across the country.

We hope that recipients will respect the confidentiality of the honours system by not discussing the award until the official publication. However, if you are being recognised for work with a particular organisation, you may wish to alert your press officer, in strict confidence, about your award. Any press notice should not issue before the embargo lifts.


The List will appear in the London Gazette and is usually published in several national newspapers. Both versions of the List will include your full name and your citation (why you are receiving the award).

The London Gazette is in the Government’s “paper of record”. The Gazette is not available in shops. It can be accessed online at Copies can be purchased by ringing 0333 200 2434 or emailing

All recipients’ names and town/county locations are published. If you have any concern about the inclusion of other details for security, personal safety or safeguarding reasons, please contact us to discuss arrangements, which might include revisions to your citation or a less specific location.


His Majesty The King conferring an honour on Mrs Suzanne Redfern during an investiture at Buckingham Palace, London.

Once an individual accepts an honour and it has been announced in The London Gazette and published GOV.UK/Honours, they will be invited to an Investiture by the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood; a Department within the Royal Household.

An Investiture is the formal ceremony, where the recipient of an award receives their Insignia in person from The King or a Member of the Royal Family. Investitures usually take place at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in the presence of the recipient’s family or close friends.

The Honours and Appointments Secretariat cannot tell you when you will be invited to receive your award. It may be several months before you are contacted or receive an invitation.

Any questions about the Investiture ceremony following the formal announcement, should be directed to the Central Chancery using the following email address:

Due to the community nature of British Empire Medals (BEM), they are presented locally by Lord-Lieutenants (His Majesty’s local representative). BEM recipients are also invited to attend a Royal Garden Party. Presentations of these medals are either made in the recipient’s local community, for example, at the charity for which they volunteer, in their workplace, or a communal presentation with other BEM recipients. To find out more about how a BEM will be presented in your area, recipients can contact their local Lord-Lieutenant following the announcement.

A flowchart showing the timeline for recipients of an honour.


Most awards allow the holder to place post nominal letters after their surname, for example ‘KCMG’, ‘DCMG’, ‘CMG’, ‘CBE’, ‘OBE’, ‘MBE’, ‘BEM’, ‘QPM’, ‘QFSM’ and ‘QAM’. These can be used immediately following the announcement.

Warrants of Appointments

Upon the appointment to an Order of Chivalry, recipients will receive a Warrant of Appointment from the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. This is a legal document confirming the recipient’s award within an Order, such as the Order of the British Empire. Warrants of Appointment are sent by post and may arrive before or after a recipient’s Investiture.

Any questions regarding a Warrant of Appointment after it has been received, should be directed to the Central Chancery at

Coats of Arms

Honours recipients have a right to apply for a coat of arms. This can be made through an application to the College of Arms who then make a grant of arms on behalf of The King. Recipients wishing to apply for a coat of arms should contact The Herald at Arms at

Chapel at St Paul’s Cathedral

The Orders of Chivalry are connected to a ‘Home Chapel.’ Many of which allow for Members and Medallists to request weddings, baptisms and memorials within the Order’s Chapel. To request further information or to apply for use of the Chapel, Members should write to the Secretary of the Central Chancery at the following:

The Secretary of The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
St James’s Palace

Or email

Ceremonial Church services and other events are held throughout the year within the various Orders of Chivalry. These are advertised at

The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor

The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was founded in 1908. It was granted the title Imperial by His Majesty King George V. It acts as the Registry for all Knights Bachelor.

The Imperial Society upholds the dignity of the designation of Knights Bachelor. Any man who receives a Knight Bachelor may join the Imperial Society. For more information, contact The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor directly.

Expectations of a Recipient

There is a clear expectation that those invited to receive an honour are, and will continue to be, role models.

Please be aware that, where the recipient of an honour has brought the honours system into disrepute, honours can be cancelled on the advice of the Honours Forfeiture Committee and with the approval of The Sovereign.

Please visit the Government website for more information.