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    Posted: 20 Dec 2010 at 12:31

Arise Sir X Factor: Simon Cowell tipped for a knighthood for services to charity (and music, too)

By Lara Gould
Last updated at 12:18 PM on 20th December 2010


Simon Cowell is being tipped for a knighthood in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the 51-year-old X Factor judge and media mogul is being lined up for the title when the 2011 Honours list is unveiled on December 31.

According to sources, Cowell has been supported by senior Labour and Conservative politicians because of the contribution he has made to the music and entertainment industry.

The Mail on Sunday understands Cowell will be offered the knighthood, rather than a lesser title such as MBE or OBE, because his work is at a national and international level.

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Royal Approval: Simon Cowell meets the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance

The knighthood is primarily an acknowledgment of Cowell’s charity fundraising for victims of the Haiti earthquake earlier this year.

In January, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Cowell personally asking for his help putting together a Band Aid-style charity record to raise money for victims of the disaster.

The single, a cover of REM’s 1993 single Everybody Hurts, featured global stars including Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue and Rod Stewart as well as Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle – who were both discovered by Cowell through his TV series The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

 

The single topped the charts in the first week of its release, selling more than 600,000 copies and raising more than £1million, with all the profits donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Cowell is also patron of the charity Children’s Hospices UK and has supported Great Ormond Street Hospital through charity singles released by X Factor finalists.

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Charity: Simon, seen here with his fiancée, Mezghan Hussainy, is expected to get the knighthood for his Haiti earthquake fundraising efforts

Next year’s honours will be formally announced by Buckingham Palace in two weeks and are expected to see Cowell assume the title Sir Simon.

The honour, the first for the record company boss, will also acknowledge his contribution to the UK entertainment industry and the British economy. In 2009 it was revealed that Cowell paid £21.7million in tax in the previous financial year.

That figure looks set to be dwarfed in light of the £100million deal he signed with the American TV network Fox to launch the X Factor in America next year.

As a businessman his TV series have also enjoyed huge global reach with franchises X Factor and Got Talent series screened in 44 countries around the world.

The former Sony record executive – who started his career in the post room at EMI records – now runs his own company, Syco.

Last year Cowell put his chances at getting a Knighthood at ‘less than zero’ but admitted that '“Sir Simon” has a nice ring to it'.

He added: ‘I never did all this to get a knighthood. I am very lucky to do what I do and feel privileged.’

Cowell, who is engaged to make-up artist Mezghan Hussainy, 37, was last month awarded an honorary Emmy for his television work and charity work.

The prestigious International Emmy Founders Award recognises ‘significant achievements in television that crosses cultural boundaries and contributes to our common humanity’.

A source close to the honours process said: ‘Simon is very strongly expected to receive an honour when the awards are announced.

‘It will be in recognition of the work he put into the Haiti campaign but also his other charity work.’

 

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