British Empire Order
The Order of the British Empire (English: Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) is a British Order of the Knights that was established on June 4, 1917 by King George V of Great Britain for merits made to the kingdom at home or abroad.
The words are part of the UK's reward system and are awarded to both men and women and are awarded in five degrees. Orders are usually given twice a year, partly on New Year Honors List and in connection with the monarch's official birthday (Birthday Honors List) but also in connection with the resignation of a Prime Minister (Prime Minister's Honors List) or the dissolution of Parliament ( Dissolution Honors). The words were divided in 1918 into a military and a civilian division.
The ribbon of the Order is in pink with gray edges, for the military department the ribbon also has a gray stripe in the middle. The motto is For God and the Empire ("For God and the Empire"). The Order is, together with the Order of the Companions of Honor, the youngest of Britain's orders.
The words, which can only be awarded to foreign nationals honoris causa, have five civilian and military divisions which are, in ascending order of seniority:
A recipient of a degree within the words has the right to use the abbreviation for the degree after the name, e.g. "John Smith MBE" or "Mary Jones OBE". Only the two highest degrees give an otherwise untitled recipient (ie, one who is not a royal nobility, holds a priesthood or baronet) the right to call himself "Sir" (for men, for example, "Sir John Smith KBE") or "Lady" ( for women, such as "Dame Mary Jones DBE").
Citizens of non-Commonwealth countries are awarded degrees in honorific titles: for example, US citizen and Microsoft founder "Bill Gates KBE" does not have the right to call himself "Sir Bill Gates KBE" in the UK.
There is also a British Empire Medal (BEM) whose recipients are not members of the words but which have to do with the words. This was re-established in 2012 by David Cameron's coalition government.
The court singer Elisabeth Söderström, CBE 1985.
The lead singer Kerstin Meyer, CBE 1985.
Business person Håkan Mogren, KBE 2004.
Football player Henrik Larsson, MBE 2006.
John Lennon, like the other members of the Beatles in 1965, was awarded the Order of the Empire by the MBE for his musical success. On November 25, 1969, however, Lennon returned his insignia in protest of Britain's actions in the Biafra War, the country's support for the United States during the Vietnam War and the fact that his song Cold Turkey was slipping off the charts.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to the British Empire.
Honors, Awards & Medals UK Government