Winslet, Branagh top British honours list

Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, acting great Kenneth Branagh and the designer behind Kate Middleton's wedding dress were decorated by Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday in her birthday honours list.

"Titanic" star Winslet was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition for her services to drama, while Branagh becomes Sir Kenneth after being made a knight in the chivalry order.

Winslet said: "I feel deeply proud to receive this, as a part of an ever-expanding community of British actors and film-makers who are fortunate enough to be able to contribute to an international industry.

"This makes me very proud to be a Brit," the 36-year-old said.

Branagh, the Shakespearian actor-cum-film director, was given the higher rank of knight commander and joins the pantheon of British actors who have been made a sir.

Belfast-born Branagh, 56, was made a KBE for his services to drama and to the community of Northern Ireland.

"I feel humble, elated and incredibly lucky," he said.

"When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team.

"I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt and my heart's fit to burst."

Sarah Burton -- who designed the Duchess of Cambridge's dress for her wedding to Prince William last year -- was made an officer in the order for her services to the fashion industry and can now add OBE after her name.

Take That songwriter Gary Barlow, who organised the diamond jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace earlier this month marking the queen's 60 years on the throne, was given the OBE for his services to the entertainment industry and to charity.

"I'm absolutely thrilled and feel very privileged to be in the company of so many brilliant people," the pop star said.

"Growing up, I never dreamt that one day I'd be getting one myself. I enjoy every minute of the work I do, with a lot of it being a reward in itself."

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park, which has a distinctive, wave-like roof, was knighted.

She has won the Stirling Prize -- Britain's top architecture award -- for the last two years running.

Former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, who played a key role in bringing the 2012 Games to London, was also made a dame, for her services in support of the event, which gets under way on July 27.

Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd and Charles Dunstone, the founder and chairman of Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse, were both knighted.

"In The Loop" director Armando Iannucci, the Scot behind many of Britain's best comedy shows in the last 20 years, was given an OBE for services to broadcasting.

Motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd, left wheelchair-bound after an accident in 1996, received an OBE for services to charitable giving.

April Ashley, 77, who in 1960 became the first Briton to undergo a sex change operation, becomes an MBE, a member of the order, for services to transgender equality.

Honours lists are produced twice a year, at New Year and to coincide with the queen's official birthday in June. She turned 86 in April.

Most recipients are not celebrities, but people who have given their time for charity work or helping their local communities. Anyone can nominate someone for an award.

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