On Tuesday, actor Daniel Craig was granted a rare honor that should have been familiar to him after playing British super-spy James Bond. The royal family announced that Craig was appointed to the Order of St. Michael and St. George, just as the fictitious Bond was – at Windsor Castle. However, in Craig's case, it was given for "outstanding contribution to film and theatre."
Craig accepted his new honors from Princess Anne, the second-oldest child of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is one of Britain's "orders of chivalry," established in 1919 by Prince George, who would become King George IV. It was originally intended for people holding high positions or important commands in the British military. At the time, Britain was embroiled in the Napoleonic War and these honors were initially granted to those who held territory in the Mediterranean.
We’ve been expecting you…— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 18, 2022
🎖️The Princess Royal presents Daniel Craig with The Order of St Michael and St George – the same honour held by his character James Bond – in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film and theatre. pic.twitter.com/X20TP6BogL
More recently, these honors have been granted to British people who render exceptional service to the U.K. in a foreign country in a non-military capacity. It is the sixth-most senior order in "the British honours system," which includes other titles for knights and dames. Other members of this order include diplomats, philanthropists and artists, especially in recent years. Notably, Sir David Attenborough was appointed to this order in 2020.
As for James Bond, he was appointed to The Order of Saint Michael and Saint George at some point in his extensive fictional life, but it has never been explained when or why. The honor was mentioned in the movie Skyfall in 2012, and in two of Ian Fleming's original novels – From Russia, With Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Last year, Craig was also named an honorary commander of the U.K.'s Royal Navy just as Bond was. At the time, according to a report by Entertainment Weekly, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said: "Our honorary officers act as ambassadors and advocates for the Service, sharing their time and expertise to spread the message about what our global, modern, and ready Royal Navy is doing around the world."
Craig received both of these honors after leaving the James Bond franchise behind. He first took on the role in 2006 and played the spy in five movies – Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die. It's still not clear who will take on the legendary role next, but another movie is reportedly in the works.