Becton receives honor from Prince Charles

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series The Henry Becton Collection

WGBH Vice Chair (and former president) Henry Becton has been made an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The CBE, presented by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales yesterday, 5/5, at a ceremony in Boston, was awarded in recognition of Henry’s extraordinary service to the arts and entertainment industry.

Henry Becton and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

“It’s a privilege to accept this honor, which belongs to the many people at WGBH who over the years worked with their colleagues in British broadcasting to create great television and radio,” says Henry.

He adds that the Prince was very personable and commented to Henry that the award was long overdue.

British Consul General to New England Dr. Phil Budden, added, “I am delighted that Her Majesty the Queen is honoring Mr. Becton’s tremendous contribution in Boston to the special relationship between Britain and America, and that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was able to deliver this honor in person to Mr. Becton today.

“As an Honorary CBE, Mr. Becton is hereby recognized by Britain for his exceptional accomplishments in the arts, and contributions to British culture and society.”

We salute you, Commander!

Henry Becton, former President of Boston public broadcaster WGBH, has been made an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Mr. Henry Becton receives his honor from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at a ceremony at The British Embassy in Washington D.C. on May 5, 2011.

The CBE, presented by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, was awarded in recognition of Mr Becton’s extraordinary service to the arts and entertainment industry.

Mr Becton joined WGBH as a producer in 1970. Under his leadership from 1984 until his retirement in 2007, WGBH was the American co-producer of some of the most prestigious British dramas and documentaries made during that time.

British Consul General to New England, Dr. Phil Budden, said:

“I am delighted that Her Majesty The Queen is honouring Mr. Becton’s tremendous contribution in Boston to the special relationship between Britain and America, and that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was able to deliver this honour in person to Mr. Becton today.  As an Honorary CBE, Mr. Becton is hereby recognised by Britain for his exceptional accomplishments in the arts, and contributions to British culture and society.”

Under Becton’s leadership from 1984 until his retirement in 2007, WGBH was the American co-producer of some of the most prestigious British dramas and documentaries made during that time.

The UK honours system recognises exceptional achievement and service to the nation, and includes non-British nationals who receive “Honorary” awards for their important contribution to British interests. All British honours are awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by HM The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary.

Mr Becton will receive a CBE medal and may forthwith put “Honorary CBE” after his name.

“It’s a privilege to accept this honor, which belongs to the many people at WGBH who over the years worked with their colleagues in British broadcasting to create great television and radio,” said Becton.

Mr Becton personally oversaw the co-production of many familiar TV dramas that were presented as part of Masterpiece Theatre on American public television, such as The Jewel in the Crown, Rumpole of the Bailey, Morse, Sherlock Holmes and Poirot. Between them, these productions earned several dozen BAFTA and Primetime Emmy awards. Masterpiece Theatre is one of American television’s best known programmes.

Mr Becton also helped establish a new standard for nonfiction documentary productions between US and UK programme makers. This resulted in such ground-breaking documentaries as Korea: The Forgotten War; Rock and Roll; and The Churchills. In addition, under Mr Becton’s leadership WGBH developed a partnership with the BBC and Public Radio International to produce the radio international news program PRI’s The World.

Prince Charles — better known these days as the father of the groom — arrived Tuesday for a busy three-day visit to the nation’s capital….

Before he leaves Thursday morning, Charles will present honors from the queen to three Americans at an investiture ceremony: Folger Shakespeare Library Director Gail Paster and Henry Becton, former president of Boston’s WGBH public televison station, will receive the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE); educator Martin Lancaster will get an OBE.

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