Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet get royal honors

Actor-director Kenneth Branagh and actress Kate Winslet. Kevork Djansezian, Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) LONDON - Actor-director Kenneth Branagh, actress Kate Winslet, and fashion designer Sarah Burton were among the luminaries named for this year's royal honors.

The honors are bestowed by twice yearly by Queen Elizabeth II — at New Year's and on her official birthday in June — but recipients are selected by civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.

Branagh was made a knight and will be known as Sir Kenneth. A respected Shakespearean actor whose films as a director range from "Henry V" and "Hamlet" to the comic-book fantasy "Thor," Branagh said he felt "humble, elated, and incredibly lucky" to get the honor. It puts him in a pantheon of theatrical knights alongside the late Sir Laurence Olivier (whom Branagh played in "My Life With Marilyn").

"When I was a kid, I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team," said the Belfast-born, 51-year-old actor. "I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt, and my heart's fit to burst."

Winslet, who made her breakthrough as the feisty Rose in the 1997 blockbuster "Titanic" and won a Best Actress Academy Award in 2009 for "The Reader," was also honored, named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (or CBE).

Winslet said the honor made her "very proud to be a Brit."

"I am both surprised and honored to stand alongside so many men and woman who have achieved great things for our country," the 36-year-old star said.

The complete Birthday Honors List was published Saturday.

Queen's Birthday Honors List 2012 (pdf)

Most honors go to people who are not in the limelight, for services to their community or industry, but they also reward a sprinkling of famous faces.

In descending order, the honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE. Knights are addressed as "sir" or "dame." Recipients of the other honors have no title but can put the letters after their names.

Songwriter and philanthropist Richard Stilgoe, who wrote lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats," "Starlight Express" and "The Phantom of the Opera," was awarded a knighthood.

Those becoming dames — the female equivalent of a knight — include Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the Aquatic Center for the 2012 London Olympics, and Labour Party politician Tessa Jowell, who was Olympics minister until 2010.

Sarah Burton, who designed Kate Middleton's dress for her royal wedding to Prince William last year, received an OBE for services to fashion.

Golfer Luke Donald was recognized for spending almost a year at the top of golf's world rankings. The Englishman, who has spent 48 weeks as No. 1 since May last year, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

"I am truly honored to be awarded an MBE by Her Majesty, particularly in her Jubilee year," Donald said Friday from the U.S. Open in San Francisco.

Musician Gary Barlow, who organized a Diamond Jubilee concert for the queen this month featuring Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Elton John, was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, for his services to entertainment and to charity.

Choirmaster Gareth Malone, who inspired thousands to sing with TV shows such as "The Choir" and assembled the best-selling Military Wives singing group, was awarded an OBE, as was actress and 1970s heartthrob Jenny Agutter.

Actress and campaigner April Ashley, one of the first Britons to undergo sex-change surgery, was awarded an OBE "for services to transgender equality."

Also receiving an OBE was Jimmy Carlson, a former soldier who spent 23 years sleeping on the streets before becoming an advocate for the homeless. The same honor went to Armando Iannucci, the writer and producer behind expletive-laden British political satire "The Thick of It" and White House comedy "Veep."

"I just hope it's not an attempt by the government to stop me, because that's not going to happen," he said.

Among the hundreds of others honored was Margaret Jackson, who received an MBE "for services to netball" and Kerry Michael and Michelle Michael, awarded the same honor "for services to the restoration of Weston Super Mare's pier."

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