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Colin Firth receives invite to Palace to crown his top year

By Adrian Rutherford

The King's Speech star Colin Firth is heading to Buckingham Palace just months after collecting an Oscar for his portrayal of King George VI.

The actor will receive his CBE after being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

It caps a memorable year which saw Firth pick up a string of awards, most notably the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as the stuttering monarch.

His emergence as Hollywood royalty comes 16 years after he achieved instant heartthrob status in the UK when he played Jane Austen's brooding hero Mr Darcy, famously emerging from a lake in a dripping wet shirt and breeches in the BBC television adaptation of Pride And Prejudice.

Firth is among a host of stars from the worlds of music, entertainment and sport who are recognised recognised in the honours.

Singer Bryan Ferry, who has had a recording career spanning nearly 40 years, receives a CBE.

The 65-year-old is one of the most famous figures of the 1970s glam rock scene. His hits with Roxy Music include Virginia Plain, Love Is The Drug, Angel Eyes and Jealous Guy.

England's cricketers are recognised for their achievement in winning the Ashes in Australia for the first time in 24 years with OBEs for captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower, and an MBE for player of the series Alastair Cook.

Golfer Lee Westwood, until last month the world's number one player, gets an OBE. There are MBEs for three of Britain's London 2012 Olympic medal hopefuls — world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu and 15-time Tour de France stage-winning cycling hero Mark Cavendish.

Ex-EastEnder Brooke Kinsella gets an MBE for her campaign against knife crime, prompted by the murder of her 16-year-old brother Ben in 2008.

Author Julia Donaldson, best known for ‘The Gruffalo’, caps a week in which she was appointed the Children's Laureate by being awarded an MBE.

OBEs go to Graeme Garden (68) and Tim Brooke-Taylor (70), creators of much-loved madcap 1970s TV series The Goodies with Bill Oddie (69), who received his OBE in 2003.

Other broadcasters honoured include BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour presenter Jenni Murray (61), who is made a Dame, and BBC Radio 2 DJ ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris (65), who gets an OBE.

In the acting world, an OBE is awarded to 82-year-old Bernard Cribbins (left) who narrated cult children's show The Wombles and appeared in several of the Carry On films.

In business and the City, a knighthood goes to Bank of England governor Mervyn King, while Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King (50) is given a CBE.

Former Conservative leader Michael Howard is made a Companion of Honour for public and political services and actress Janet Suzman is made a Dame for her long and distinguished career on stage and screen.

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