LONDON, UK — In a society that loves its class distinctions, they’re a rare and special breed — the knights, dames, officers and others called to join the monarch in the grandly named Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Founded in 1917 by King George V, the chivalric order honors service to Britain of all sorts. Those tapped in the last year include the singer Adele, an internationally renowned expert on octopus brains, the justice-seeking parents of a murdered child, a former cricket champion and David Cameron’s hairdresser.
Honorees are nominated by the government or a member of the public and selected by the Cabinet Office in a process shrouded in secrecy.
Being seen to promote oneself or grasp at titles is about the most un-British thing one can do. But for those who like the sound of their name with a few extra letters after it, a London-based consulting firm claims it can quietly guide a nomination from daydream to reality.
“A lot of people think you just have to wait for the phone to ring and someone at Buckingham Palace will be on the other end saying, ‘Congratulations, the queen’s going to give you an OBE,'” says Mark Llewellyn-Slade, founder of Awards Intelligence.
But getting the kind of help his agency offers comes at a price. The company’s packages start at around $10,000 and go to $16,700 for an 8,000-word nomination letter and up to 15 drafted recommendation letters… see more