A reward for real merit
I have just been told that the Queen has honoured Neil MacGregor with the Order of Merit, the highest honour in her gift. Neil, director of the British Museum since 2002 and, before that, head of the National Gallery, had previously turned down a knighthood, which is a political gift.
In eight years, he has turned around the BM from the nation’s aunt sally to the busiest museum or earth, with a higher footfall than the Louvre and more public awareness than the Met. Some 10 million people have downloaded his History of the World in 100 Objects from the BBC.
Seldom in my experience has the order been more richly merited. Arise Mr MacGregor, OM.