Honors: It’s Now Sir David Frost and Dame Catherine Cookson
LONDON (AP) _ Britain knighted TV personality David Frost and Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins Thursday and honored a Hong Kong laundryman in what is expected to be the last unrestricted New Year’s honors ceremony.
Queen Elizabeth II’s list, compiled by the government, also recognized novelist Catherine Cookson; author and critic Sir Victor S. Pritchett; Britain’s Olympic medalists, Oscar-winning composer Malcolm Arnold and Welsh soprano Margaret Price.
Prime Minister John Major is expected to overhaul the honors system early in the New Year, emphasizing that honors have to be earned, as part of his vision of a classless society.
Although many honors are currently earned through merit, others are awarded to loyal contributors to the governing party.
The only life peerage among the 1,000 awards given out this year was won by Shirley Williams, a founder and former president of the centrist Social Democratic Party which has since merged into the Liberal Democrats. She married American historian Richard Neustadt in 1987 and lives in Boston.
Frost, who started his TV career 30 years ago, will be called Sir David after receiving his knighthood.
″It’s the most wonderful surprise that I have ever had,″ he said. ″To be honored this way in mid-career is just terrific.″
For Welsh-born Hopkins, the Oscar-winning star who played psycho killer Hannibal Lecter in ″The Silence of The Lambs,″ the knighthood was a special birthday present. He turns 55 on Thursday.
Ms. Cookson, the 86-year-old best-selling author of 90 books who is often described as the queen of romantic fiction, said she was ″over the moon″ at being made a dame, the female equivalent of a knight.
Pritchett, 92, who is already a knight, became a Companion of Honor, one of the nation’s highest awards recognizing 65 people whose service has been ″of conspicuous national importance.″ He is Britain’s most distinguished living literary critic, a master writer of short stories and author of more than 40 books.
A knighthood also went to Arnold, 71, who has written symphonies, worked with the rock group Deep Purple and created notable film scores.
The honors, which can be awarded to Britons and citizens of former British colonies, covered a wide sweep of fields from science to service.
David Shearer, who spent 14 months in Somalia as field director for Save The Children, which provided emergency food for thousands of starving youngsters, became a member of the Order of the British Empire.
Among those receiving honors in the British colony of Hong Kong was Kang Shik Ming, rewarded ″for laundry services to the Royal Navy.″