The Honours System
The system of conferring honours is governed by provisions of the statutes constituting the various orders and, as the following chart shows, the number of honours available in any year and the mode of making recommendations are strictly defined. In addition, most orders contain provisions limiting the total number of awards that may be made in any year or group of years. Commonwealth Prime Ministers cannot recommend persons for admission to the Orders of the Garter, Thistle, Bath (Civil Division), Merit, or the Royal Victorian Order. The Companions of Honour appear, although this is not clearly specified in the statute, to be granted on the recommendation of the British Prime Minister. In the orders open for conferment upon citizens of Commonwealth countries a certain proportion of the total number of places in all classes is reserved for these. These may only be filled by recommendations from this source or from the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. When the Commonwealth places in any order are filled no further awards may be made until a vacancy occurs.
In proportion to population, the Commonwealth countries are liberally treated.