Queen Elizabeth II To Honor Tony Blair, Emma Raducanu and 'Bond' Star Daniel Craig

Queen Elizabeth II has honored former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, tennis star Emma Raducanu and actor Daniel Craig, of the James Bond franchise, among others as part of the traditional New Year's Honours.

Britain's honors system recognizes individuals who have a record of achievement in a particular field, or for service to the nation, with the most senior awards including knighthoods, damehoods, and invitations to join the country's chivalric orders.

Blair, who served as prime minister from 1997 to 2007, becomes "Sir Tony" as of January 1 when he joins the Order of the Garter, the most prestigious British order of knighthood, for which the monarch—in this case Elizabeth—personally selects members.

"It's an immense honor," the former prime minister and Labour Party leader said.

"I would like to thank all those who served alongside me, in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country," Blair said.

The queen has also named her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to the Order of the Garter in what may be seen as an endorsement for her role as a senior member of the royal family. The duchess is married to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne.

Tennis star Raducanu has received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for "services to Tennis." Raducanu, now aged 19, won the U.S. Open in 2021.

Actor Craig, who played fictional British spy James Bond from 2006 until 2021, has been named a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, an honor also held by 007 himself.

Craig gave his final performance as Bond in No Time to Die, released earlier this year.

Elsewhere, there were also senior honors for two of the men who have been leading the U.K.'s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. England's chief medical officer (CMO) Chris Whitty has been named a knight, along with his deputy, Jonathan Van-Tam.

Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer for Wales, and Gregor Smith, chief medical officer for Scotland, were also made knights. According to the U.K.'s cabinet office, 19 percent of this year's honors are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A large number of people receive honors of varying degrees each year, many of those people are largely unknown to the public and many are rewarded for their charitable work, while civil servants and politicians also generally feature.

List of honors are typically issue twice a year: at new year and for the Queen's Official Birthday, which takes place on June 11. Elizabeth II's actual birthday falls on April 21.

Composite Image Shows Craig, Raducanu and Blair
A composite photo shows Daniel Craig, Emma Raducanu and Sir Tony Blair. All have received honors from Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images