‘Dame Tracey’ has a ring to it, says artist Emin after King’s Birthday Honours surprise

The new Dame Tracey Emin celebrates her award in the King's Birthday Honours
The new Dame Tracey Emin celebrates her award in the King's Birthday Honours - Jane Barlow/PA

Tracey Emin has said that a damehood “has a good ring to it” after receiving the “brilliant surprise” in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

The artist, 60, has been awarded the recognition for her services to art over a career spanning more than four decades.
“Dame Tracey has a good ring to it,” she said. “I’m very, very happy. Another brilliant surprise in my life.”

It comes after the artist, based in Margate, Kent, was treated for bladder cancer during lockdown and as a result of the urostomy she underwent, now wears a stoma bag. She also had a complete hysterectomy.

Emin is one of Britain’s most celebrated female artists and is showcasing a host of new works in New York earlier this year, currently in Brussels and opening in London in September.

Formerly a headline-grabbing artist known for rebel tactics in the Nineties, Emin has transformed into a teetotal global art star who is a pillar of the establishment, shown when she joined the Princess of Wales in reopening the National Portrait Gallery in June last year.

Last month, she told The Independent: “I have never been more active. Tracey Emin is working like a demon!”

Other damehoods went to fashion accessories designer Anya Hindmarch and actress Imelda Staunton.

Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch becomes Dame Anya in The King's honours
Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch becomes Dame Anya in The King's honours - Rii Schroer

The 68-year-old, who played The late Queen in Netflix’s The Crown, was recognised for her services to drama and charity.

She said: “I feel genuinely humbled to be recognised on the same level as the amazing actresses, all the great dames, who have led the way for so many of us.”

Imelda Staunton played The Queen in The Crown and now becomes Dame Imelda
Imelda Staunton played The Queen in The Crown and now becomes Dame Imelda - Gareth Cattermole/Getty

Meanwhile, the Scottish writer and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci was made a CBE, saying he was “proud” to work in the British television and film industry.

He added: “It’s the best in the world, yet weirdly I’ve been spending more and more of my energy defending our public service television from attacks on its independence and funding.

“I’ll take this award as a cue to keep going.”

Stars of Strictly Come Dancing were also recognised, with professional dancer Amy Dowden and 2022 series winner Rose Ayling-Ellis both being made MBEs.

Dowden was honoured for her services to fundraising and raising awareness of Crohn’s disease “on behalf” of all those who live with the inflammatory bowel disease.

In 2019, Dowden revealed she was suffering from Crohn’s disease, and hosted the BBC programme Strictly Amy: Crohn’s And Me, in which she spoke about her battle with the condition and met other people with Crohn’s to hear about their experiences.

Strictly Come Dancing Star Amy Dowden
Strictly Come Dancing Star Amy Dowden - Stephen Hart

The 33-year-old advocate and ambassador for charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK said: “I am still in shock, but so thrilled to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, it is beyond my wildest dreams.

”I accept it on behalf of all those who live with Crohn’s disease, and will continue campaigning to raise awareness for and research into this terrible chronic illness.

”I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful NHS staff who have helped me over the years and Crohn’s & Colitis UK who do so much to support fellow sufferers.”

The dancer has also had a high-profile battle with breast cancer, underwent a mastectomy.

She had to take time off Strictly last year to receive chemotherapy treatment but earlier this week it was announced that she will rejoin Strictly for the 2024 series.

Meanwhile, former EastEnders actress Ayling-Ellis, 29, was recognised for voluntary services to the deaf community.

The first deaf contestant to take part in the BBC show, she won the 2022 series and legions of new fans after a Bafta-winning routine in which the music paused and she and partner Giovanni Pernice danced in silence as a homage to the deaf community.

She also helped to mentor Unify, an all-deaf sign performance group who use British Sign Language, for a special concert for the King’s coronation.

Former X Factor singer Rebecca Ferguson, Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon and Countdown’s Susie Dent were among the other celebrity names to be made MBEs.