Singer-songwriter Van Morrison and US actor Kevin Spacey have been given knighthoods in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
The Belfast-born star was recognised for services to music, and tourism in Northern Ireland, the inspiration for many of his hits reports BBC.
There were only eight new dames in the list, compared with more than three times as many knights.
But overall more than half (51%) of recipients were women, outnumbering men for only the second time in honours history.
The dames include Frances Ashcroft, professor of physiology at the University of Oxford, known for her ground breaking research into type two diabetes; Prof Anne Glover, former chief scientific advisor to the European Commission, and businesswoman Zarine Kharas, founder of the JustGiving.com charity website.
Spacey, who is soon to step down after 10 years as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London, said he felt like “an adopted son” after his honorary award for services to British theatre and international culture was announced.
Morrison said: “Throughout my career I have always preferred to let my music speak for me, and it is a huge honour to now have that body of work recognised in this way.
Former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Edwards is knighted, and there are OBEs for ex-England footballer Frank Lampard, and England’s record-breaking cricketer James Anderson.
Long distance runner Jo Pavey and Ebola nurse Will Pooley are among the MBEs. Journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who successfully campaigned to keep a woman on a British banknote, is made an OBE.
The same honour goes to Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne and entertainer Michael Ball, and Twelve Years A Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond become CBEs.
Ball, who described himself as “a proper royalist”, said he was “chuffed to bits” and his 80-year-old father burst into tears on hearing the news.
Lampard, who is Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer but spent last season at Manchester City ahead of a move to the US, described his OBE as “an extremely proud moment for myself and my family”.