Angelina Jolie has been named an honorary dame by Queen Elizabeth II. While the decision was made back in June the presentation of the official insignia was held in a private ceremony on October 10 at Buckingham Palace. The actress was presented by the Queen with the insignia of Dame Grand Cross for her work in battling against the use of sexual violence in times of war as a weapon. The title bestowed is the female equivalent of being granted knighthood.
Jolie was informed that she would be receiving this honor back in June when she was working as a co-chair for the global summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict held in London. Being named an honorary dame for her work to aid British foreign policy is essentially a royal way of saying thank you. When the actress was informed that she would be receiving the honor she expressed her pride in receiving recognition for her work with foreign policy. She continued by expressing her desire to dedicate her working life to making a change in foreign policy.
While Jolie is known as Hollywood royalty for her acting career and famous family, it is her humanitarian work that has recently taken center stage. The actress has been receiving praise for the last few years for her efforts on behalf of victims of sexual assault and violence as well as for refugees. Since 2001 she has been around the world visiting with refugees and other individuals displaced from their homes. After the earthquake in Haiti, Jolie visited with survivors in an effort to raise awareness for the plight of those people who had survived the natural disaster but had lost everything.
Although Angelina Jolie is being given the name honorary dame for her work to end sexual violence during war, this is not the first time that the actress has been rewarded for her humanitarian works. In 2001 she was named a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner Refugees, which is an agency within the UN that handles issues revolving around refugees. She has also received other awards for her humanitarian works including a Global Humanitarian Award from the UN.
Jolie is not the first Hollywood actress to receive the title of dame. Another Hollywood star to receive the title was Elizabeth Taylor in honor of her long career in film. Since Taylor was actually British born, she was able to use the title Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Jolie as an American cannot use the title dame before her name but if she wishes she can choose to use Angelina Jolie DCMG.
While the Queen is the person who presides over the ceremony and hands out the insignia, a special honor committee chooses the individuals that will be named as dame. The naming of the dames, such as the honorary one bestowed to Jolie is done by a separate committee of individuals and not the Queen herself. The presentation itself occurs in front of a private audience. Jolie attended the ceremony with her husband and six children, who were also able to meet with the Queen.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Gage Skidmore – Flickr License