Who made the list? Queen’s knighthoods revealed

A number of British business figures are set to be knighted by the royal family, it was revealed on New Year's Eve -- but this year's list is not without controversy.

Every year, the Queen publishes a New Year's Honours list, a quaint – and sometimes contentious – way of recognizing achievements by individuals with awards such as knighthoods and damehoods, the female equivalent.

Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Dockyard Chapel in Pembroke Dock, Wales, April 29, 2014.
Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Dockyard Chapel in Pembroke Dock, Wales, April 29, 2014.

Fiona Kendrick, chair and CEO of Nestle U.K. and Ireland, and Diane Thompson, former chief executive of Camelot, which runs the National Lottery, will each receive a damehood, in an honours list that saw many high profile women take top awards.

David Lazard, the former CEO of Lazard, will be awarded a knighthood for his services to art philanthropy. While Dickson Poon, executive chairman of Dickson Concepts, which owns luxury brands including the department store Harvey Nichols, will also be knighted.

Read MoreNew Year Honours list: Do UK knighthoods matter?

A number of other popular business figures are also set to receive smaller awards, including Julie Deane, founder of popular bag-maker the Cambridge Satchel Company.

Businessman James Caan, a judge from U.K. TV program Dragon's Den, and Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman will both be made Commander of the British Empire (CBE), an award often seen as the prelude to a knighthood or damehood. Anne Richards, chief investment officer at Aberdeen Asset Management, and Elizabeth Corley, CEO of Allianz Global Investors, will also receive CBEs.

The business figures were named alongside actors including John Hurt, who played Ollivander the wand-maker in some of the Harry Potter films, who will also be knighted.

But – as in previous years – 2014's New Year's Honours List was not without controversy. Fiona Woolf, the lawyer who was forced to step down from an inquiry into historical sex-abuse allegations, was made a dame.

Meanwhile, David Ward, route managing director for Network Rail South East, received a lesser award just days after track upgrades to the rail network caused widespread delays in the U.K.

Although the Queen presents the awards, she does not decide who makes the honors list. Names are suggested by senior civil servants and a selection committee, and the list is presented to the Queen by the British Prime Minister.