Queen's Birthday Honors Include Knighthoods for Kenneth Branagh, Michael Boyd and Richard Stilgoe

Actor/director Kenneth Branagh, RSC artistic director Michael Boyd and lyricist Richard Stilgoe (Starlight Express and original lyricist on The Phantom of the Opera) were awarded knighthoods in the Queen's Birthday Honors, announced June 16.

There is also a knighthood for opera director David McVicar. A CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) awards were made to actress Kate Winslet and writer Susan Hill (whose book "The Woman in Black" has been adapted as a long-running West End stage hit and, more recently, film). Recipients of OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) awards include actress and co-creator of TV's "Upstairs, Downstairs" Jean Marsh, actress Jenny Agutter and actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, whose plays include Elmina's Kitchen, which premiered at the National Theatre before subsequently transferring to the West End. Actress Amanda Redman, who set up the Artists Theatre School in 1994, was awarded a MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Acknowledging his award, Branagh commented that he was "humble, elated and incredibly lucky," stating, "When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team. 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."