Angelina Jolie has been made an honorary dame in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours list released Friday, as Britain paid tribute to the Hollywood star for her efforts to combat warzone rape.
The American actress, who US Secretary of State John Kerry described as “a fierce and fearless advocate”, leads a list of film idols, sports stars, authors and designers recognised for their services to the United Kingdom.
Daniel Day-Lewis receives a knighthood, while his fellow Oscar-winning film star Dame Maggie Smith — the star of TV period drama “Downton Abbey” and the “Harry Potter” films — is made a companion of honour.
Jolie was given the female equivalent of a knighthood for her services to British foreign policy in her campaign to end sexual violence in conflict zones.
She co-hosted a four-day global conference in London on the issue with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, during which Kerry suggested she had played her most lasting role, “the role of fierce and fearless advocate”.
The 39-year-old actress 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.
“Working on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and with survivors of rape is an honour in itself. I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime, and I am dedicated to it for all of mine.”
Jolie becomes an honorary dame commander in the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, an order of chivalry for people “who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country”.
Day-Lewis, the only man to win three Oscars for best actor — “My Left Foot” (1989), “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Lincoln” (2012) — said he was thrilled to become a knight of the realm.
“I’m entirely amazed and utterly delighted in equal measure,” he said.
The 57-year-old is known for taking his method acting very seriously, often staying in character off set and living a quiet life in the Irish countryside to prepare for roles.
– Teen cancer victim rewarded –
Maggie Smith, 79, who won an Oscar as best actress for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969), becomes a companion of honour, an order limited to the queen and 65 other ordinary people from across the Commonwealth.
“Homeland” actor Damian Lewis was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
“I was very surprised but very happy to accept,” said the 42-year-old, who made his name in World War II series “Band of Brothers”.
“I decided to do the very un-British thing of accepting the compliment.”
BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet receives an OBE for her services to British broadcast journalism.
Author Hilary Mantel, the first woman to win the Booker Prize for fiction twice, for her historical novel “Wolf Hall” and its sequel “Bring Up the Bodies”, was made a dame.
“I’m delighted to receive this honour. It’s given for ‘services to literature,’ but I see it not so much as a reward for the past, more as encouragement for the future,” the 61-year-old said.
Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes also becomes a dame.
Nineteen-year-old cancer victim Stephen Sutton, who died on May 14 after raising more than Â£4.2 million ($7.1 million, 5.3 million euros) for a teenage cancer charity, was given an MBE for his efforts, backdated to the date of his death.
His mother Jane said her son was asked shortly before he died whether he would accept the MBE in recognition of his fundraising services — and thought it was “awesome”.
Honours lists are produced twice a year, at New Year and to coincide with the queen’s official birthday in June. She turned 88 in April.
Most recipients are not celebrities, but people who have given their time for charity work or helping their local communities.