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Queen bestows royal honors

Stella McCartney, who designed the uniforms worn by Britain’s record-smashing Olympic team, and Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who gave his name to the so-called “God particle,” are among the hundreds being honored by Queen Elizabeth II this New Year.

The list is particularly heavy with Britain’s Olympic heroes, but it also includes “Star Wars” actor Ewan McGregor, eccentric English singer Kate Bush and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the royal aide who helped organize the watched-around-the-world wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

McCartney, the designer daughter of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and his first wife Linda, was honored with the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE.

Higgs’ achievements, which made him a Companion of Honor, touch on the nature and the origins of the universe. The 83-year-old researcher’s work in theoretical physics sought to explain what gives things weight. He said it was while walking through the Scottish mountains that he hit upon the concept of what would later become known as the Higgs boson, an elusive subatomic particle that gives objects mass and combines with gravity to give them weight.

All of Britain’s gold medalists from this year’s games were on the list, with cyclist Bradley Wiggins and sailor Ben Ainslie honored with knighthoods.

Britain’s honors are bestowed twice a year by the monarch: at New Year’s and on her official birthday in June. In descending order, the honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire. Knights are addressed as “sir” or “dame.” Recipients of the other honors, such as the Order of the Companions of Honor or the Royal Victorian Order, receive no title but can put the letters after their names.

The birthday bunch

Actor Joseph Bologna is 78. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 78. Singer Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary) is 75. Director James Burrows (“Cheers,” “Taxi”) is 72. Singer Mike Nesmith (The Monkees) is 70. TV host Meredith Vieira (“Today,” “The View”) is 59. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 56. “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer is 55. Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 53. TV host Sean Hannity is 51. Actress Eliza Dushku (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 32.


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