Shirley Bassey Honored with Damehood in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on July 19th, 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II.
On July 19th Shirley Bassey has become a Dame.
Here is some information collected by me from the net and from my own researches.
Read the articles:
To be a "Dame" in Great Britain is a very special honour. The following awards are known, from lowest to highest:
Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's Honors List is an annual event. Every year a number of British citizens are raised to the peerage. Such an elevation to the peerage only falls share to people who did something extraordinary or who reached a high level in their profession. Among the former receivers of a knighthood were Cliff Richard, Vera Lynn, Kiri te Kanawa and Andrew Lloyd Webber. With 1998 names, the list is more than double that of previous years.
It was only a couple of years ago when Shirley Bassey was honored with CBE (Commander in the British Empire). Nevertheless Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to honor Shirley again in recognition of her services to entertainment and this time by making her a Dame!
Others to be raised to the peerage: Actress Elizabeth Taylor (67), actor Sean Connery (69), Britain's best-known billionaire Richard Branson (49) (creator of the Virgin empire), Alan Sugar (52) (founder of computer company Amstrad), singer/actress Julie Andrews (64), Stirling Moss (70) (the Grand Old Man of British motor racing) and Henry Cooper (65) (one of the most popular boxers of all time).
Dame Shirley, who was wearing a royal blue chiffon dress, was greeted by fans waving banners proclaiming "Congratulations Dame Shirley". There were fans who wore T-shirts with "On A Wondeful Day Like Today" (one of Shirley's song titles) printed on them. Shirley arrived in a stretched Dark Blue Mercedes Limousine. A big banner was mounted to the palace gates "CONGRATULATIONS DAME SHIRLEY" with a great big picture of Shirley at the side - the picture from "Shirley Bassey Sings The Movies". All the other guests arriving (by car) at the Palace had no idea Dame Shirley was going to be there as they all looked and pointed at the banners.
My special thanks to Rocky for these two pictures, taken and © copyright by Rocky Fernandez <email@example.com>.
Before using them contact him for permission.
The 62-year-old British soap actress Barbara Windsor from EastEnders (she plays landlady Peggy Butcher) received an MBE that day. She arrived in a gold Silver Seraph (Rolls Royce) top of the range Roller.
After the ceremony one of the fans handed the quite fresh Dame a T-shirt and blue flowers which perfectly matched her dress.
The Eastenders star was so honoured to be in the presence of Dame Shirley, that she felt she had to curtsey. The picture is also in her biography where she mentions that it was her spontaneous honouring of the Dame. Dame Shirley looked spectacular, as she left, she lowered the window and showed her medal to the waiting fans and then drove off.
Jeremy Selwyn, the photographer who took this picture of Barbara Windsor curtsying before Shirley Bassey won the Picture Editor's Award 2000, a special award for a portfolio of his pictures, which included this great picture ."A delightful impromptu moment at the Palace investiture caught the superb photo", was quoted by one of the judges.
More press coverage:
From "Spits", a free Dutch morning tabloid, Thursday, July 20th:
James Bond score singer made a dame
After a 45-year career, singer Shirley Bassey was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II. "I am shaking more now than I was before", said Bassey, 63, after the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Bassey, best-known for crooning the sultry theme song to the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger", began her career singing in Welsh workingmen's clubs and went on to score 10 British top-10 hits.
Babs meet the Head of the House of Windsor and Shirley becomes a Dame
from "HELLO!" number 622, August 1, 2000
She's used to holding court at the Queen Vic, but EastEnders star Barbara Windsor had to admit she was "really nervous" when she met the real Queen to receive her MBE.
"It was worse than a first night or my first day in EastEnders," joked the 62-year-old former Carry On star. "But it was lovely to talk to her, especially as I'm a Windsor too!"
And on the same day Shirley Bassey, 63, was also honoured by the Queen, when she was made a Dame. The singer from Tiger Bay admitted she'd nearly had a heart attack when she was first told about the honour, and had a tough time keeping it secret for the seven weeks before it was announced in the Millennium honours list. "I was afraid to go out in case I told someone. my social life was nil."
After the ceremony, Barbara paid Shirley the supreme courtesy of curtseying to the newly appointed Dame.
The Day A "Windsor" Had To Curtsey At The Palace
from the "London Evening Standard"
She is more used to pulling pints at the Queen Vic, but today EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor couldn't contain her delight after receiving an MBE at Buckingham Palace. The former star of the Carry On films who now plays Eastenders landlady Peggy Butcher was so honoured to be in the presence of diva Shirley Bassey, who was made a Dame, that she felt she had to curtsey!
Emotions Run High For Dame Shirley
from "The Western Mail", July 20th, 2000
by Nick Dermody
SHIRLEY Bassey worried she was going to have a nervous breakdown trying to keep secret her honour as a Dame before it was published in the Millennium New Year's honours list.
Wales's most famous female performer said she nearly had a heart attack when she first heard the news of the honour, and struggled to keep the secret for seven weeks before it was officially announced.
Dame Shirley, 63, was speaking yesterday as she left her west London home for Buckingham Palace where she was due to meet the Queen for her investiture.
She said, "I'm a little bit excited but it won't hit me until I'm in the palace."
Dame Shirley, who has celebrated 45 years in show business, was accompanied by her daughter and grandson, Sharon and Luke Barton, and her manager Beaudoin Mills.
She said she was asleep when news of the honour first arrived.
"I was asleep and my manager came to wake me up because we were going out that night," she said.
"I didn't feel like getting up and I said 'go away, let me sleep'.
"I thought he had gone because it was very quiet," said Dame Shirley, who also has a CBE.
"Just as I was going back to sleep he said, 'you wouldn't get up even for a Damehood?'
"I had to keep it quiet for seven weeks. I nearly had a nervous breakdown.
"I was afraid to go out in case I told someone - my social life was nil."
Yesterday's investiture was yet another highlight in her spectacular career.
Dame Shirley was born on January 8 1937 in Cardiff's docklands, known as Tiger Bay.
Shirley Veronica Bassey was the youngest of seven children.
Her father was a Nigerian seaman and her mother a Yorkshire woman, although they separated when Dame Shirley was just two years old.
Her early jobs included work in a factory's wrapping and packing department while she sang at working men's clubs at weekends. After touring Britain in revues and variety shows, she enjoyed her first hit, in 1957, with the calypso-style Banana Boat Song.
With her powerful singing voice, lavish gowns, and extravagant arm and hand movements, she topped the charts two years later with As I Love You.
In 1964 she had a major hit in the United States with Goldfinger, one of three title songs she has sung for James Bond films.
And three years ago, she returned to the UK Top 20 with History Repeating, a collaboration with dance act Propeller-heads.
Twenty-nine of her albums were regis-tered as bestsellers between 1961 and 1991.
Her work schedule did not slack off during the 1990s, with her British tours being some of the biggest.
In 1996, more than 100,000 people attended a recordbreaking nine sell-out performances in London at the Royal Festival Hall.
In December 1997, she pulled out of the Royal Variety Performance because she would not perform without an orchestra, after artists were asked to sing over recorded backing tracks.
In 1998, 120,000 people saw her live and she smashed her own record in London for the longest run by a solo artist at the Royal Festival Hall with 10 sell-out shows.
Last year she returned to her home city to help celebrate the opening of the National Assembly for Wales and returned to Cardiff for the Rugby World Cup.
Adorned in a Welsh flag, she and Bryn Terfel performed the Rugby World Cup Anthem World in Union at the both the opening and closing ceremonies in the Millennium Stadium.
The Millennium Tour this year proved equally successful.
As well as shows in Ireland and a show at the Hampton Court Festival, the Millennium Tour included another 10 nights at the Royal Festival Hall.
This time she was able to add a couple of dates in her home country, performing to two packed houses at the Cardiff International Arena in May.
Her long and successful career has brought her many plaudits and friends.
She counts the Prince of Wales as one of her fans - she once threw him a carnation at one of her concerts and he wore it in his buttonhole for the rest of the show.
Dame Shirley Bassey was almost in tears as she took centre stage at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
Just after she was officially invested with her title by the Queen she said, "I am shaking more now than I was before. I have got a lump in my throat and I am nearly in tears.
"It was absolutely incredible. I feel wonderful and so proud.
"The Queen congratulated me on such a long career and that was when the tears nearly flowed.
"She asked me if I still enjoyed singing and I said 'Yes Your Majesty I do, but sometimes I do get nervous'."
Dame Shirley, who was wearing a royal blue chiffon dress, was greeted by fans waving banners proclaiming "Con-gratulations Dame Shirley".
EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor, 62, who received an MBE, looked elegant in a pale peach satin dress and feathered headdress,
Miss Windsor was accompanied by her husband Scott Mitchell, 36, and her agent Barry Burnett.
"I have dressed up today in honour of my mother who was a dressmaker. I was trying to achieve an Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly look," she said.
"I was really nervous in there. It was worse than a first night or my first day on EastEnders. The Queen said I had been making people laugh for a long time and I told her it was 50 years - she looked quite taken aback by that.
"It was lovely to talk to her, especially as I am a Windsor too.
"I am so lucky to be here and it is so wonderful to be in a business
that I love and be paid to do what I love. This really is the cherry on the cake today."
©2000 Western Mail & Echo Ltd
Bassey's pride at palace honour
from "The Times", July 20th, 2000
Shirley Bassey was invested with her damehood by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The singer, 63, who has been in show business for 45 years, said she was almost been moved to tears when the Queen congratulated on her long career. "It was absolutely incredible. I feel wonderful and so proud."