Rutland MP Alan Duncan has been awarded a diplomatic knighthood for his work in the Middle East.
Conservative Mr Duncan will become a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.
According to the website of the British monarchy, www.royal.gov.uk, the honour can be awarded to “men and women of high office, or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country.”
Mr Duncan was Minister of State for International Development for four years before he left his post in last week’s Cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Duncan said: “I am hugely honoured to receive this knighthood. As a Minister I took enormous pride in attempting to extend our national interests and diplomatic influence in the world, and I will use this honour as a spur to continue to do so.”
The Order of St Michael and St George was insituted in 1818 by George IV, who was at the time Prince Regent. The idea was to commemorate the placing of the Ionian Islands, off the Greek coast, under British protection. Britain took control of the islands during the Napoleonic Wars.
The order was originally intended for distinguished citizens of those islands, and also of Malta.
As the British Emprie expanded towards the end of the nineteenth century the order was then extended to those who had given distinguished service in the dominions and colonies, as well as foreign affairs generally.
Today the Order consists of the Sovereign, a Grand Master (currently The Duke of Kent), and includes three classes: 125 Knights and Dames Grand Cross, 375 Knights and Dames Commander and 1750 Companions.
Members of the Royal Family may be appointed as Extra Knights and Dames Grand Cross.