After playing the mother of the Queen in The King's Speech, actress Helena Bonham Carter will take part in a real-life royal performance when she receives an honour from the monarch herself.

The actress is among close to 1,000 people from all walks of life whose achievements are recognised in the annual New Year's Honours List.

Northern Irish golfers Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke are also on the list, capping an outstanding year for UK golf.

Most of the people honoured with a variety of traditional titles such as Commander, Officer or Member of the Order of the British Empire (CBE, OBE and MBE), are unknown to the public.

They range from charity fund-raisers to business leaders and hospital managers -- but the media spotlight invariably falls on celebrities from the worlds of arts or sports.

Bonham Carter played the wife of King George VI, mother of the current monarch, in Oscar-winning film The King's Speech. She will experience true royal pomp when she receives her CBE at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace next year.

The actress, while not quite as blue-blooded as the Queen, comes from an aristocratic family and counts a British prime minister among her ancestors.

She has played starring roles in a long list of successful films ranging from the period piece A Room with a View in 1985 to the 3-D extravaganza Alice in Wonderland in 2010.

Also honoured at a high point in a long career is golfer Darren Clarke, who won the last British Open at the age of 42, on his 20th attempt. He will receive an OBE.

It was a particularly emotional win for Clarke, who has gone through hard times since losing his wife to cancer in 2006. He was the oldest winner of the Open since 1967 and the first home champion in 12 years.

Rory McIlroy will have an MBE to show for his efforts during a rollercoaster year that saw him throw away victory at the U.S. Masters in April only to bounce back by clinching his first major at the U.S. Open in June.

At 22, McIlroy was the youngest winner of the championship since 1923.

Queen Elizabeth, whose sporting interests lie more in the world of horse-racing than of golf, does not draw up the Honours' List herself. Government officials seek out worthy recipients, who can also be nominated by members of the public.