Sir Tom Stoppard (51-54) joined the Queen at Windsor Castle as a Member of the Order of Merit.
Widely respected as the most exclusive club in the world, Members of the Order of Merit were invited to lunch yesterday (15 April 2015) at Windsor Castle by the Queen. The meeting, at Windsor Castle, happens every two years and past members include Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, Thomas Hardy and Nelson Mandela
The Order was founded by Edward VII in 1902 and members are chosen by the monarch – an honour awarded to individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature and science.
It is restricted to 24 members – though there are currently only 23 following the death of sculptor Sir Anthony Caro.
Britain’s greatest living playwright, Sir Tom, 77, is the author of Arcadia, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead and, most recently, The Hard Problem. The Czech-born writer is renowned for the fiendish complexity of many of his plays. Tom is number 18 in the photograph.