The Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has received an honorary damehood from Britain in recognition of her work highlighting the scourge of sexual violence in war zones.
The surprise award came alongside the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in which 1,149 British residents received honours. Recipients included actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Damian Lewis, author Hilary Mantel, the Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland and Stephen Sutton, the teenager who helped to raise millions of pounds for cancer charities before his death last month.
Ms Jolie’s accolade, which was awarded by the Foreign Office, rounded off a four-day visit to London to co-chair a summit on the problem with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.
Mr Hague has faced some criticism for devoting so much time to meetings with the American actress, who has been accompanied by her husband Brad Pitt, but the Government insists her involvement has helped to focus attention on rape as a weapon of war.
Ms Jolie, who is a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “To receive an honour related to foreign policy means a great deal to me as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to.”
Daniel Day-Lewis, the first man to win three Best Actor statuettes at the Oscars, said he was “entirely amazed and utterly delighted” to become a knight.
The 55-year-old actor, the son of the late Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, has received Oscars for My Left Foot (1990), There Will Be Blood (2008) and Lincoln (2013).
His near-namesake, Damian Lewis, received an OBE. The Old Etonian actor has become an international television star following his portrayal of American servicemen in Band of Brothers and Homeland. He said: “I decided to do the very un-British thing of accepting the compliment.”
The best-selling author Hilary Mantel, who has been made a dame for services to literature, said she saw her honour as "encouragement for the future”. The writer, whose novels about Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell have been critical and commercial hits, already has a CBE.
Damehoods have also been awarded to the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, the golfer Laura Davis and the economist Katharine Barker.
The Oscar-winning star Dame Maggie Smith, most recently associated with roles in Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films, has been elevated to a Companion of Honour.
A knighthood has been awarded to the man who played a key part in highlighting the appalling treatment of patients at Stafford Hospital. Robert Francis, who wrote two reports on the scandal, was recognised for “services to healthcare and patients”.
Two long-serving Tory MPs, Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, and the arch-Eurosceptic Bill Cash are knighted, while the Labour MP, Dawn Primarolo, the Deputy Commons speaker, becomes a Dame.
Britain’s Winter Olympics winners were rewarded for their triumphs. Skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold, who won Britain's first gold medal of this year’s games in Sochi, received an MBE, as did visually-impaired skier Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans, who won Britain’s first ever gold medal in the Winter Paralympics.
An OBE went to Warren Gatland, who has presided over a series of successes for the Welsh national rugby team, while England women’s cricket captain Charlotte Edwards received a CBE.
Stephen Sutton had accepted his MBE before he succumbed to cancer and has been backdated to May 14, when he died.
Stephen, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 15, drew up a 46-item bucket list, including the initial aim of raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. His appeal has raised more than £4.2m to date.
His mother, Jane, said he thought the award was an “incredible honour” and awesome. She said: “The MBE is a wonderful recognition of his amazing charity work and dedication to Teenage Cancer Trust while battling terminal cancer himself.”