The playwright, poet and novelist Bernard Kops has been awarded a Civil List pension.
Two weeks ago Mr Kops received a letter from the Prime Minister with the news that the Queen had conferred the rare honour on him.
Awarded for life, it puts him in the company of poets such as Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Mr Kops, 83, believes he may be the first Jewish writer to receive the award, which has been made on the recommendation of Downing Street for his services to literature.
Civil List pensions have been awarded by the monarch since the 1720s, originally to poor writers and artists whom the court wanted to reward in some way.
“It’s really lovely and a great honour,” said Mr Kops, who was first asked if he would be interested in applying for the pension some months ago.
“I had wonderful referees: Sir Arnold Wesker, Glenda Jackson MP, and Michael Kustow. But I didn’t hear anything until two weeks ago.”
The East End-born writer is using the first tranche of his award to travel to Cordoba.