London, May 21 (IANS) The publication of Queen Elizabeth IIs Birthday Honours has been delayed until the autumn amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government has announced.
Speaking during Wednesday’s daily No 10 press conference, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said it has been pushed back so it can fully reflect the work of frontline staff during the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Metro newspaper.
“As a way of showing our national gratitude to these every day COVID-heroes, we’re announcing today that we’re delaying Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours list until the autumn so that they can be recognised and celebrated,” he said.
Dowden said when the nation “looks back on the coronavirus, one of the things we’ll remember is the incredible contribution made by so many people”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on the Queen to get all those involved in the COVID-19 effort recognised in the next round of Honours.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, Johnson said: “There is, understandably, huge appetite across the country to say thank you to all those on the front line, within our communities and in our public services, who are supporting the nation through these unprecedented times.
“The honours system recognises exceptional contributions made across every part of the UK and will play a key role in demonstrating the nation’s gratitude to all those involved in the response.
“In this context, the Queen has graciously agreed that the Birthday Honours list, due to be published in June, should be postponed until the autumn.
“This step will allow us to ensure that the list, agreed before this public health emergency developed, reflects the COVID-19 effort, and comes at a time when we can properly celebrate the achievements of all those included.”
Honours recipients can sometimes take months or even years to be available to collect their awards but it is rare for the list, published twice a year in June and the new year, to be postponed, the Metro newspaper report said.