Beckham, whose fame spreads far beyond the world of football, is made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in a list including comedian Billy Connolly, actress Helen Mirren and singer Sting.
Married to former Spice Girl Victoria Adams, Beckham and "Posh Spice" have become Britain's number one celebrity couple. The nation is agog at reports that he is about to quit the English game for Spain or Italy.
"He has been a great ambassador for the country on and off the pitch," Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said.
The spokesman stressed that the majority of honours were for ordinary people, nominated by the public, but stars of stage and screen figured prominently too.
Mirren, famous for films such as "The Long Good Friday", "Excalibur" and the "Madness of King George" for which she was Oscar-nominated, is made a Dame of the British Empire.
Anarchic Scottish comedian Connolly receives a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) as does Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting -- frontman for rock group The Police who went on to even greater solo success.
David Gilmour, former guitarist with 1970s super-group
Fashion designer Alexander McQueen receives the same award and former James Bond star Roger Moore gets a KBE (Knight of the Order of the British Empire) for his charitable work. Moore is an ambassador for U.N. children's' fund UNICEF.
Also recognised from the world of sport is Alec Stewart. The cricketer still playing at international level at the age of 40 becomes an OBE while gold medal-winning hurdler Colin Jackson receives a CBE.
Half of the 975 people recognised are honoured for services to education, health and social services or community work.
Other lesser known names are also picked out.
Mark and Philip Wilson ran Britain's honorary consulate in Bali which was forced to cope with the aftermath of last October's bombings there. They get OBEs.
More than 200 people, most of them foreign revellers but including around 30 Britons, were killed by the blasts along Bali's famous Kuta beach nightclub strip.
"It was a most appalling atrocity. It is absolutely right they are recognised," Blair's spokesman said.
Peter Barnett, Marina Brook, Marie Kelsall and David Magson -- four Britons who lived in the region and volunteered to help in the chaos -- become Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBEs).