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Sir David Attenborough: More Letters After Name Than in It

As we all know, Sir David Attenborough has dedicated his life to the natural world and environmental causes, earning him multiple honours and awards. As pointed out by the Twitter account No Context Brits, Sir David Attenborough now has more letters after his name than in it.


David Attenborough, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
David Attenborough at the Great Barrier Reef | Wikipedia

David Attenborough's name comprises 17 letters, or 20 if you add in the title he received in 1985 when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. After those, there are 36 more letters pertaining to the multiple orders he has been awarded and the prestigious societies he has been elected to become a member of. These letters are: OM, GSMG, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FSA, FRSA, FLS, FZS, FRSGS and FRSB.


But what do these letters mean? It's easier to first divide them among orders and societies. The former are the Order of Merit (OM), Order of St Michael and St George (GSMG), Order of the Companions of Honour (CH), the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), and Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). These are handed out by the Royal Family for “exceptional service” and “major contributions” towards the advancement of the Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science.


The latter are fellowships that illustrate Attenborough's wide array of interests and topics he's an expert in. These are the Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), which is given following a peer-review process on the basis of excellence in science. Additionally, there is the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA), the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), the Linnean Society of London (FLS), the Zoological Society of London (FZS), the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (FRSGS), and the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB).


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