More than 100 barristers and three solicitors were appointed to the hallowed rank of Silk.

Of the 237 applications, 107 were made up, a success rate of 45%.

Among those appointed, 25 were women, from the 48 who applied – the same number appointed last year. They included Justine Thornton, the wife of former Labour leader Ed Miliband, and Marina Wheeler, Boris Johnson’s wife.

Nine applicants who declared an ethnic origin other than white of the 32 who applied were sucsessful, compared with 10 out of 24 the previous year.

Nine applicants aged over 50 were appointed, the same as last year. The youngest successful applicant was 34 and the oldest was 57.

Overall, the figures released by the QC Selection Panel showed that applications for the quality mark have dropped dramatically, by more than half, over the past 20 years.

At the same time, the Queen approved the appointment of eight new honorary Queen’s Counsel: Professors Robert Blackburn, Adrian Briggs, Sara Chandler, Jonathan Harris, Ian Scott, and Clive Walker; international child specialist solicitor Anne-Marie Hutchinson and legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg.

The new QCs will formally become Silks at a ceremony before the Lord Chancellor later this month.