UK govt apologizes after accidentally posting addresses of UK New Year’s Honours recipients online
The UK’s Cabinet Office has issued an apology after the addresses of several New Year Honours recipients were accidentally posted online.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson told CNN said a version of the list — which includes lawmakers, celebrities and senior police officers — had been uploaded by mistake and has been taken down.
The list of honors is published biannually, once at New Year’s and then again for the Queen’s birthday, and recognizes excellence in a spectrum of pursuits, ranging from arts and athletics to science and politics.
This year’s list — made up of 1,097 people in total — included famous faces such as Elton John, “Grease” star Olivia Newton-John, and director Sam Mendes.
A government spokesperson said in a statement: “A version of the New Year Honours 2020 list was published in error which contained recipients’ addresses. The information was removed as soon as possible. We apologise to all those affected and are looking into how this happened.
“We have reported the matter to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and are contacting all those affected directly.”
Winners receive their medals during 30 or so separate Investiture ceremonies throughout the year at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
Queen Elizabeth II dubs newly minted knights with a sword that previously belonged to her father, George VI.
The Honours system, explained
Although knights and dames may be the most well-known commendations, there’s a hierarchy of ranks in the honours system, according to the UK government.
At the highest level is the Companion of Honor, awarded those who’ve made major contributions in the arts, science, medicine, or government over an extended period.
Next, the distinction of being a knight or dame is conferred on those who’ve made long-term national contributions seen as inspirational or significant.
The Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, is for those who’ve played a “prominent but lesser role at the national level, or a leading role at the regional level,” according to the UK government.
The Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, is for those who’ve taken a major role in local activities, and through that become known nationally in their field.
The Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, is for outstanding achievement or service to one’s community.
Finally, the British Empire Medal, or BEM, is for those who’ve done “hands-on” service for their local community, including voluntary activity or innovation work.
CNN’s Laura El-Tantawy and Jonny Hallam contributed to this story.