Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

The Queen Honored a Woman Who Founded New Zealand’s Prostitute Collective

Move over, Helen Mirren — there’s a new dame in town! This week, Queen Elizabeth bestowed the title of Dame Companion upon Catherine Healy, the same title she gave to Mirren. Healy’s honor, though, is significant in a distinctly different way: She is the founder of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, which was instrumental in decriminalizing prostitution in the country (New Zealand was the first to do so). In fact, Healy herself is a former sex worker.

More: Meghan Markle’s Mom Just Had Tea With the Queen

It was during that time, in the 1980s, that Healy reportedly realized the stigma associated with the profession and how lacking the field was in any sort of protection for its people. Accordingly, she has spent the last 30 years of her life advocating for those in the industry.

Perhaps no one was more shocked than Healy to hear that the queen was awarding her the title of Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to the rights of sex workers.

“I’m very touched. Looking at the different kinds of people who are put forward for these honors, in no way did I think I would ever be a recipient. I’m not sure what the queen would be thinking about this, but certainly it’s no secret that I have been a sex worker, and obviously my work is pushing for sex workers’ rights,” Healy told The Washington Post.

More: Queen Elizabeth’s Daily Menu Is Actually Pretty Amazing

Of course, Healy isn’t the only person being honored by the queen this week. Each year, Her Majesty releases “The Queen’s Birthday Honours List,” which recognizes the achievements of people in various fields and endeavors, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes.

In addition to Healy, Emma Thompson is receiving the title of Dame for her services for being one of Britain’s “most versatile and celebrated actresses.”

Keira Knightley, best known for her role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, will receive an OBE award — in essence making her an “officer” of the British empire. Actor Tom Hardy will receive a CBE award, making him a “commander” of the empire. (Is it just us, or does this sound like something straight out of Star Wars?)

More: Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip Through the Years — Their Love Story in Photos

Other honorees include Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, historian and broadcaster Professor Simon Schama, and Winter Olympic gold medalist Lizzie Yarnold.

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.