Homeland star Damian Lewis said he decided to do "the very un-British thing" and accept his OBE awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
The London-born actor has become a huge international star on the back of two roles - both playing US soldiers.
His performance as Major Richard Winters in the 2001 Second World War epic Band of Brothers made his name and more recently Homeland, in which he played returning prisoner of war Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, confirmed his star status.
He said: "I was very surprised but very happy to accept.
"I decided to do the very un-British thing of accepting the compliment."
Lewis, 43, who is married to actress Helen McCrory and has two children, said his family were "delighted, when they stopped asking what it was for".
The actor, currently filming the BBC adaptation of Hilary's Mantel's historical novels in which he plays King Henry VIII, said he thought he would take his father with him to the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
He said: "I don't think you ever stop trying to impress your parents and I hope they will be proud and enjoy being there with me to celebrate the honour".
Lewis said he did not expect to be awarded an honour "at my age", adding: "O ne thinks maybe if you hang around for long enough then maybe one will get something one day.
"It's easy to feel a bit of a fraud in some respects, it's quite a thing to have to live up to."
Lewis, who has starred in three series of Homeland, said he did not expect Hollywood to be impressed by the award.
He said: "I don't think our republican cousins quite understand our honours system or are that bothered about it."