100 YEARS after the Order of the British Empire was forged to recognise those who have served the country with distinction, The Queen herself was the guest of honour at a special commemorative service in the Square Mile.
Her Royal Highness was alongside The Duke of Edinburgh and 2,000 other guests from across the UK and Commonwealth to mark its centenary.
Members of the audience were almost all recipients of either a GBE, KBE, CBE, OBE, MBE or British Empire Medal.
The Queen, who is the Sovereign of the Order, and Prince Philip, who is the Grand Master, were met on arrival by Lord Mayor Dr Andrew Parmley, and greeted by David Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Cathedral Chapter, and Officials of the Order.
With the ceremony coming just two days after the tragic terror attack in Manchester, Rev Ison paid tribute to those who had lost their lives during his Bidding Prayer.
In his sermon, in which he looked at the work of the Order and its award holders, the Dean added: “Jesus Christ reminds us that honour is due, not to those who think highly of themselves, but to those who think highly of others.”
The Order was instituted by King George V in 1917, initially to recognise the considerable civilian contribution to the war effort during the First World War.
Soon after its formation the Order was divided into military and civilian divisions, and to this day new recipients continue to be announced twice per year, on The Queen’s birthday and at New Year.
As St Paul’s is considered be many to be the ‘Nation’s Church’, it is also widely accepted to be the spiritual home of the Order.