Asked why Miss Kelly was omitted, Sir Hugh added that “there is a danger of giving the awards to the entire squad” because they “could have five minutes on the pitch and get an award”.
The decision came despite the Lionesses’ exhilarating performance at the Euros. The competition was credited with transforming attitudes to women’s football and encouraging a new generation of schoolgirls to take up the sport.
Thousands of fans poured onto Trafalgar Square on Aug 1 to greet the squad and celebrate their historic win.
There were concerns that too many sporting honours had been issued in the Noughties and early 2010s following England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph, 2005 Ashes victory and British athletes’ various successes at the Olympics.
That led to an apparent tightening of the rules, resulting in honours being awarded only to the head coach and a handful of England players who won the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup and the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Honours for Home Office mandarin and Queen guitarist
The news came as the most senior civil servant in the Home Office, during a period of failure to tackle the surge in small boats crossing the Channel, was handed a knighthood.
Matthew Rycroft, the department’s permanent secretary, took up the role in March 2020. The number of migrants crossing illegally has hit record highs since then.
The Home Office has been singled out for criticism over the slow turnaround of asylum applications, as well as major backlogs in dealing with passport applications.
Away from Whitehall, leading figures in music and sport were honoured, along with those who made a standout contribution to charities and the emergency services.
Brian May, the guitarist with the rock band Queen, received a knighthood. He spoke of the sense of “responsibility” that he now feels to behave in a way that “benefits” Britain.
Jason Knauf, a former royal aide who raised complaints of bullying against the Duchess of Sussex from staff, has also been recognised for his service to the Crown.