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Why Olivia Newton-John Was Given a Damehood by Queen Elizabeth

When the Grease star’s husband announced her death, he referred to her as Dame Olivia Newton-John

Why Olivia Newton-John Was Given a Damehood by Queen Elizabeth 1

Just a few years before Olivia Newton-John’s death at age 73, she was awarded with the highest honors that a civilian can receive in the U.K.

The singer-songwriter and actress, who was born in England and raised primarily in the Commonwealth country of Australia, officially became a dame at the 2020 New Years Honours Services. She received the honor, which is the female equivalent of a knight, for her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment from Queen Elizabeth.

“I am extremely excited, honored and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me,” Newton-John said at the time, according to the Press Association. “As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognized in this way by the United Kingdom.”

She also received the Companion of the Order of Australia in June 2019.

Why Olivia Newton-John Was Given a Damehood by Queen Elizabeth 2

In 1992, Newton-John revealed her first diagnosis with breast cancer. Her healthy journey, which included a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction, ultimately led to the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne. In the decades that followed Newton-John become an advocate for cancer awareness and research.

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Before becoming a dame, Newton-John was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1979 New Year Honours. She received the award from Queen Elizabeth during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in March 1979, proudly holding it up for photos following the event.

In addition to meeting the Queen, Newton-John crossed paths with Princess Diana at the 1988 concert held at the Entertainment Center in Sydney.

Newton-John’s husband John Easterling, announced her death Monday on her social media channels, using her dame title.

“Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time,” he said.


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“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” he continued. “Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation.”


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