How To Write a Successful Queen’s Honours Nomination

How do I get a Queen’s Honour? The process isn’t difficult. An online form from the British Government needs to be completed according to the published guidelines. Then, at least two letters of support need to be included.

So, how to nominate with a good chance of success? A track record of outstanding results in giving back to the community or helping society PLUS some passionate supporters willing to write on your behalf PLUS a compelling and well-written nomination form EQUALS A Great Chance of Success!

Bayleaf Honours are the ONLY Honours Specialists who provide “No Risk” nomination packages. We are so confident in our expertise and approach, that if you choose one of our No Risk services, we refund 100% of your fee if you are not successful*. Check out the product page or our explainer video for further information. 

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    Writing a Successful Nomination

    Anybody can write a nomination form to receive an honour, (or OBE, CBE or even a Knighthood) and the Government helpfully has some advice about how best to write the application on the Honours website.

    The Government advice starts with the most important consideration – does the nominee deserve an Honour? The best written nomination for an unworthy candidate won’t work.

    Who deserves an honour?

    Honours recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements. There are always fewer honours than people who deserve them and because they are rare, they should be reserved for people:

    • who have changed things especially by solid, practical achievement;
    • whose work has brought distinction to British life or enhanced the UK’s reputation in their area or activity. If you think your nominee demonstrates one or both of these accomplishments and that their contribution stands out from other people’s, please consider nominating them for an honour.
    (UK Government Website)

    Beyond that, and the other tips on the site, here are our best pieces of insight gained from our experiences working with a wide variety of clients – from school teachers to movie stars.

    • Read the application form before you start your research! It seems obvious, but it’s very important to understand what the nominating committee is looking for. Here at Bayleaf, we plan out our Queen’s Honours nomination before starting any research or reaching out to people.
    • Focus on Difference. What makes the nominee different from other people operating in the same field? What differences has the nominee made to their community? By clearly highlighting those differences, you will show the nomination committee why your candidate is worthy.
    • Choose Supporters Carefully. When we write an Honours Nomination, we break down the story into distinct pieces and find supporters that can write from personal experience about each part. For example, each business success, each charity effort, each community action – find a supporter who has seen the benefit and the work and can speak personally about it.
    • Don’t Use Template Letters. If a chosen supporter says “I’d love to help, but I don’t know what to write. Write something for me and I will sign it” – then find a different supporter. It’s not possible to capture the personal enthusiasm and necessary support when writing on behalf of somebody else. In short – if somebody can’t be bothered to write a short, personal letter, you don’t need them in your corner.
    MBE Nomination Tips
    • Don’t Overplay Business Success. In general, an application will not receive much credit for elements which have already benefited the nominee. More bluntly – something which has brought personal wealth or stature probably won’t attract an Honour. Focus on what the nominee has done with that profile and how they have given back.
    • Be Specific. Generalisms and platitudes don’t win Honours. Give numbers, amounts, hours spent, people helped.
    • Enlist Help. You probably don’t know everything about your nominee (unless you are behind your own nomination). If you are a work colleague, enlist the help of a family member who may know about private charity work. If you are a partner or family member, talk to business colleagues who may know something that you don’t. Be thorough.
    • Take your Time. It will probably take 2 years for the Government to evaluate your nomination. Spending a couple of extra weeks to really check the application is time well spent.
    • Don’t Forget the Background Checks. Several agencies are involved in the evaluation to check that nobody “unsuitable” is awarded an Honour. Police, Immigration Services and HMRC etc all have the power to comment on or veto a nomination. If you are aware of an issue in the past, it probably will be noted and could stop an otherwise successful nomination.

    Bayleaf Honours In The Media

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    Mike McKie, CEO and founder of Bayleaf Honours explains the Queen’s Honours application process.

    From the UK Government Website:

    The Honours system recognises and celebrates outstanding achievements. There are always fewer recipients than people who deserve them and because they are rare, they should be reserved for people:

    • Who have changed things especially by solid, practical achievement;
    • Whose work has brought distinction to British life or enhanced the UK’s reputation

    How Can Bayleaf Honours Help You?

    We understand how to create an honest and effective case which uses the factors which are important to the selection committee members, civil servants and the Government for the New Year and Birthday Honours lists. Because of that, we give you an honest assessment of the chances of success based on the facts and then if you want to proceed, we will write the nomination with you.

    Finally, in addition to the nomination itself, we can also help the supporters that you choose to write their letters.

    Experienced writers

    Affordable pricing (from £200)

    Free consultation

    Realistic assessment

    Transparent process

    No added extras

    Detailed Investigation

    Compelling Application

    Supporting Documentation

    How We Work

    When the current nomination process was introduced in the 1990s, the purpose was to allow members of the public to more easily nominate everyday heroes and heroines. The Prime Minister felt that the Queen’s Birthday Honours and New Years Honours shouldn’t be reserved for the rich and elite.

    So, that is how we work at Bayleaf. Sensible pricing for writing great nominations. Importantly, we charge fees which are significantly lower than our competitors to allow more people to nominate their loved ones and respected colleagues.

    Our Guaranteed Market-Best Pricing

    Honours Nomination

    • Phone Consultation
    • Questionnaire Assessment
    • Completion of Nomination Form
    • Writing of Compelling Case
    • Supporting Documentation
    • Detailed Research
    • 12 month payment plan available

    What Our Clients Are Saying


    Experienced, professional and accessible. My experience with Bayleaf Honours was enjoyable. I found the team there to be unpretentious, honest and transparent. My nomination was written in a compelling, comprehensive & timely manner. Their fees are fair and readily available. I had full access to all team members and felt my nomination was in the best hands.

    Why Choose Bayleaf For Your Queen’s Honours Nomination?

    At Bayleaf, we provide our clients with affordable expertise every day. There are other providers of nomination services who charge very differently to our simple pricing structure. We built our business with low overheads so we can charge lower prices. For example, our writers work remotely so we don’t pay for office space. Also, our process works exclusively online, so nobody has to pay travel expenses.

    That means that we can commit to beating any other price for a similar service – by a lot! If you have received a genuine offer from any established competitor of ours, send the offer to us and we guarantee to beat the price by 50%! Not only that, but we have no word limits or limits on the number of supporters we contact for you.

    Secondly, we operate a high integrity business. We don’t make promises about our chances of success and we don’t claim to have influence or inside knowledge of the Honours Nomination process. Therefore, we absolutely promise our clients an honest assessment of success, compelling writing & in-depth research. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Finally, our business is 100% focused on Queen’s Honours. We don’t allow ourselves to be distracted with business awards or other nominations. Securing these for you is our relentless passion.

    Fun Facts about the Queen’s Honours

    Twice a year, we hear both debate surrounding the Queen’s Honours, both in terms of the recipients chosen and the reasons that some people reject their award. But how much do you really know? What are the rules? And who turned their award down?


    It is perhaps the origin of the Queen’s Honours Awards that divide the masses. While some embrace the tradition and all is stands, others cannot bring themselves to participate in a ceremony that harks back to the British Empire.


    So where and why did it start?

    Well, back in 1348, Edward III created the highest English order of chivalry, the Most Noble Order of the Garter. As the role of Government evolved in the eighteenth century, the Cabinet took over the role of selecting honours recipients and from there, the awards became something for broader society, looking beyond aristocracy and high ranking military figures.


    Rarely granted awards

    The Royal Victorian Order comprises several honours that are rare perhaps because of the way they are given. These awards, unlike others, are at the sole discretion of the Queen, and it is perhaps for this reason that Prince Philip has been decorated with so many of them!


    Do you have to be a British national to win?

    Actually, no. The Foreign Office can recommend an award go to a foreigner who has made a significant impact. These are called Honorary Awards and a full list of the 2019 honorary awards can be found here.


    Controversial Awards

    Perhaps one of the most controversial awards to date has to be that of the Knighthood of Iain Duncan Smith. Many argued that he was receiving the honour for being ‘Mr Universal Credit’ – a system which many claim led to poverty and distress for many. 


    Who turned it down?

    Many celebrities and public figures have turned down awards over the years. Notably, we’ve seen members of the black community, including writer Benjamin Zephaniah and footballer Howard Gayle turn down their awards, with many arguing that its celebration of British imperialism make it inappropriate. Meanwhile, former PMs Tony Blair and Gordon Brown also rejected the honour, as did Roald Dahl, Nigella Lawson and many more.


    Who was stripped of their honour?

    Perhaps the most recent and high-profile case was that of Rolf Harris, who was stripped of his CBE following his conviction of numerous counts of indecent assault. But there are many more, including a double agent, an alleged blackmailer and a corrupt businessman.


    And finally, just for fun, we look at the weird things people have worn to their honours ceremony

    Even the Queen herself has made headlines for her choice of clothes at an investiture. In March 2020, due to public health fears amid the Coronavirus outbreak, the Queen made news for, unusually, wearing long white gloves to pin the medals to the recipients.

    But there has been a truly colourful fashion parade at previous ceremonies.

    From devil’s horns to no knickers – and we’re talking about just one person here. The Queen of punk fashion, Vivienne Westwood, made the news when she collected her OBE in 1992 and giving a rather revealing twirl in her dress. Although stating that she was once again knicker-less when she was made a Dame years later, it was perhaps her silver devil’s horns that made the headlines along with her fashionable nod to Che Guevara. But even though Dame Vivienne is perhaps the most controversial, many celebrities have been snapped in gorgeous or unusual creations. There’s a great photo gallery here – but can you guess which British celebrity arrived in her trainers?

    * For full details about No Risk Nominations, please see our Terms and Conditions, and consult our No-Risk Nomination page.

    To read the latest news and get the very best insights from our team, visit our Insights and Updates page

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