Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel has become the second holder of the Queen's Medal for Music in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
It is only the second time the Queen's medal has been awarded
Terfel was presented with the medal by the Queen on stage at a special BBC Prom marking her 80th birthday.
Conductor Sir Charles Mackerras was the first recipient of the medal given to individuals or groups that have a major influence on the nation's musical life.
Terfel said it was an "honour and a privilege" to be recognised.
Making the announcement, Master of the Queen's Music Sir Peter Maxwell Davies described Terfel as "an inspiring figure for Welsh music and Welsh musicians throughout the world".
Sir Peter said Terfel, has been "setting our opera houses alight" with his portrayals of Scarpia in "Tosca", the title-role in "The Flying Dutchman", and his first Wotan in Wagner's "Ring" cycle for the Royal Opera.
"He has been a leading figure on international opera and concert platforms and through his superb artistry and warmth on television he has brought classical music to the widest possible audience," said Sir Peter.
Terfel had also "devoted himself tirelessly to music at his home at Faenol in Wales, creating a music festival there for the community", he said.
Sir Charles Mackerras was the first recipient of the new honour
The award ceremony was attended by an audience of 6,000, including the Duke of Edinburgh.
The bass baritone, who stages his seventh Faenol festival in north Wales next month, has performed in the world's great opera houses. He is also one of the leading figures behind the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.
Terfel said: "It's an honour and a privilege to be the second ever recipient of this medal, after Sir Charles Mackerras.
"Music, singing and performing is such a joy - every day I feel blessed to be able to do what I love, and to gain recognition for it is both surprising and humbling.
"I hope it acts as a testament to the fact that if you are committed to doing something well, and passionate about what you do, you can most certainly succeed."