Allegedly Declined a British Honour

The people below have declined a British honor in the past. Some have selected higher honors that doesn't carry titles.
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Helen Mirren
Actress, The Queen
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
“ She accepted Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire but declined a CBE in 1996 prior to it. ” - Syl
Hattie Jacques
Actress, Sykes
Prior to entering show business, she worked as a Red Cross nurse and as a welder. She did an audition at the Players Theatre on a Friday, on the Monday she was a professional entertainer singing Marie Lloyd songs. She got the name Hattie while at the Players when as part of her act she sang a negro song...
“ According to the authorized biography, she declined an OBE for personal reasons. ” - Syl
Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years old...
“ declined a CBE. ” - Syl
Paul Scofield
Though his number of film roles amount to a bit over 30, Paul Scofield has cast a giant shadow in the world of stage and film acting. He grew up in West Sussex, the son of a schoolmaster. He attended the Varndean School for Boys in Brighton. The love of acting came early. While still high school age...
“ He kept declining Knighthood in 1968 because he didn't want to be called Sir. ” - Syl
“ She declined an OBE in 1977, Damehood in 1992, but she accepted a CH (Companion of the Honour) in 2000 that is more prestigous since only 65 living recipients of the honor at the same time. ” - Syl
Grace Williams
Composer, David
“ Allegedly declined an OBE in 1966 for her services to music. ” - Syl
Vanessa Redgrave
On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave...
“ She accepted a CBE in 1967 but declined damehood in 1999. ” - Syl
Geraldine McEwan
Geraldine McEwan was born in Old Windsor, England and made her theatre debut at the age of 14 at the Theatre Royal in Windsor. By the age of 18 she was starring in London's West End in several long-running popular productions. During the 1950s she acted with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961...
“ Allegedly declined an OBE in 1986 and Damehood in 2002. ” - Syl
“ She declined an OBE with professional partner, Jennifer Saunders, in 2001. ” - Syl
Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders was born July 6th 1958 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK. She attended Central School of Speech and Drama where she met her comedy partner Dawn French. Like many of the early 80s groundbreaking "alternative" comedians she began her career as comedienne/actress/writer with Dawn French at "The Comedy Store" in London...
“ She declined an OBE with her professional partner, Dawn French, in 2001. ” - Syl
“ She declined an OBE. ” - Syl
Lenny Henry
Lenworth George Henry was born on August 29, 1958, in Dudley, West Midlands in England to a family of Jamaican immigrants. He made his TV debut on a talent show called "New Faces" in 1975 at the age of 16. He won and went on to things such as The Fosters and Tiswas, which was when his career as a comedian took off...
“ He declined an OBE but later was awarded a CBE in 1998 and Knighthood in 2015. ” - Syl
“ He allegedly declined an OBE in 2002. ” - Syl
Philip Larkin
Writer, Love Again
English poet. His father Sydney was City Treasurer of Coventry. Philip was educated at King Henry VIII School, Coventry. By the age of 16 he was already having poetry published in the school magazine, The Coventrian. In 1940 he went to St. John's College, Oxford, to study English. On graduating (with first-class honours) in 1943 he became chief librarian of the municipal library in Wellington...
“ He allegedly declined an OBE in 1968. ” - Syl
Jim Broadbent
One of England's most versatile character actors, Jim Broadbent was born on May 24, 1949, in Lincolnshire, the youngest son of furniture maker Roy Laverick Broadbent and sculptress Doreen "Dee" (Findlay) Broadbent. Jim attended a Quaker boarding school in Reading before successfully applying for a place at an art school...
“ He allegedly declined an OBE in 2002. ” - Syl
Ken Loach
Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it's virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context. After studying law at St. Peter's College, Oxford, he branched out into the theater...
“ He allegedly declined an OBE in 1977. ” - Syl
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He served as a fighter pilot in the British R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) during World War II. He made a forced landing in the Libyan Desert and was severely injured. As a result, he spent five months in a Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria. Dahl is known for how he relates suspenseful events in a simple tone.
“ He allegedly declined an OBE in 1986 because he wanted Knighthood. ” - Syl
Michael Winner
Director, Death Wish
Winner was an only child, born in Hampstead, London, England, to Helen (née Zlota) and George Joseph Winner (1910-1975), a company director. His family was Jewish; his mother was Polish and his father of Russian extraction. Following his father's death, Winner's mother gambled recklessly and sold art and furniture worth around £10m at the time...
“ He allegedly declined an OBE in 2006. ” - Syl
Graham Greene
Graham Greene was one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century and his influence on the cinema and theatre was enormous. He wrote five plays and almost all of his novels, including "Brighton Rock", "The Ministry of Fear" and "The End of the Affair", have been brought to the screen. A superb storyteller, he also wrote the screenplays for such classics as The Fallen Idol and The Third Man...
“ He allegedly declined an CBE in 1956 but later accepted the Companion of Honour in 1966 and the Order of Merit in 1984. ” - Syl
“ He was awarded the OBE for his services during World War II but was stripped of this title in 1965 when he was exposed as a double agent for the Soviet Union. ” - Syl
Hank B. Marvin
Music Department, Wonderful to Be Young!
Hank Marvin was the lead guitarist of The Shadows, the best-selling British rock 'n' roll act before The Beatles. Marvin and The Shadows had huge hits in the UK, including "Apache" and "Wonderful Land". As a guitarist, whose trademark was a clean, pure sound accentuated by a distinctive echo effect...
“ Unlike Brian Bennett and Bruce Welch, he declined an OBE in 2004 for personal reasons. ” - Syl
Honor Blackman
Actress, Goldfinger
Comparing this sultry-eyed blonde to Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich may seem a bit overzealous, but Honor Blackman's stylish allure over the years cannot be denied. One of four children, Blackman was born in London's East End to a statistician father employed with the civil service and a homemaker mother...
“ She allegedly declined a CBE in 2002. ” - Syl
Albert Finney
Actor, Big Fish
Albert Finney came from the theatre, where he was especially successful in plays of William Shakespeare, to the movies. There he became a leading figure of the young Free Cinema. His debut in cinema was in 1960 with The Entertainer of Tony Richardson who had directed him also in theatre plays various times before. His typical role were young prolets like, e.g. Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
“ He allegedly declined a CBE in 1980 and Knighthood in 2000. ” - Syl
“ He was given an honorary CBE but he should stripped since he's in prison serving time on a plea deal for corruption. ” - Syl
Kenneth Branagh
Actor, Valkyrie
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter born in 1930, and Frances (Harper) Branagh, also born in 1930. His brother, William Branagh Jr., was born in 1955 and sister, Joyce Branagh, was born in 1970...
“ Refused a CBE in 1994. He accepted Knighthood in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List. ” - Syl
John Cleese
John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England, to Muriel Evelyn (Cross) and Reginald Francis Cleese. He was born into a family of modest means, his father being an insurance salesman; but he was nonetheless sent off to private schools to obtain a good education. Here he was often tormented for his height...
“ Refused a CBE in 1996 and a Life Peerage (Barony) in 1999. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1989 and later refused knighthood in the 2003 New Years Honours List. ” - Syl
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett is an award-winning dramatist and screenwriter who is best known as a member of Beyond the Fringe (a satirical review that was a hit on both the London stage and on Broadway and featured fellow members Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore) and for his plays The Madness of King George and The History Boys. Bennett and Miller also collaborated on the TV sketch show On the Margin...
“ He refused knighthood in 1996 and declined a CBE in 1988. ” - Syl
David Bowie
Actor, Labyrinth
David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones (lead singer of The Monkees). The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist...
“ He refused a CBE in 2000 and Knighthood in 2003. ” - Syl
Keith Richards
Keith Richards is an internationally recognized iconic figure in contemporary culture and popular music as a singer, guitar player, songwriter, film actor, and public figure. He was voted 10th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, and was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989...
“ He refused a CBE. ” - Syl
Naseem Hamed
A British Muslim whose parents are of Yemeni descent. Former WBO Featherweight Champion 1995-2000 with 15 title defenses, former IBO Featherweight Champion former WBC Featherweight Champion, former IBF Featherweight Champion, former WBC International Super Bantamweight Champion, former European (EBU) Bantamweight Champion
“ His MBE was stripped in 2007 for drunk driving conviction. ” - Syl
Alfred Hitchcock
Director, Psycho
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892)...
“ He declined a CBE but later accepted Knighthood. ” - Syl
John Lennon
John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia (Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was of Irish, and some Welsh and English, ancestry. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, later became The Beatles...
“ He returned his MBE in 1969 to protest the Vietnam War. ” - Syl
John le Carré
He was born in Poole, Dorset in England on October 19th, 1931. He went to Sherborne School and, later, studied German literature for one year at University of Bern. Later, he went to Lincoln College, Oxford and graduated in Modern Languages. From 1956 to 1958, he taught at Eton and from 1959 to 1964...
“ He declined a CBE. ” - Syl
Alastair Sim
The son of Alexander Sim JP and Isabella McIntyre, Alastair Sim was educated in Edinburgh. Always interested in language (especially the spoken word) he became the Fulton Lecturer in Elocution at New College, Edinburgh University from 1925 until 1930. He was invited back and became the Rector of Edinburgh University (1948 - 1951)...
“ He declined knighthood but previously accepted a CBE. His father had also declined knighthood. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 2003. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1996. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1959 because he wanted Knighthood. ” - Syl
Paul Weller
Music Department, The Truth About Cats & Dogs
Has 5 children: Daughters Leah, Dylan, and Jesamine, and sons Nathaniel and Stevie. His mother named him John after contracting polio of the throat right after his birth. She was bordering on delirium and blurted out the first name she thought of. She later renamed him Paul, but his name has never been legally changed...
“ He declined a CBE in 2007. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1960 but later accepted a CH (Companion of Honour) in 1977. ” - Syl
“ She returned the OBE in protest of a CBE being awarded to the managing director of the Huntingdon Life Science because the company's testing on animals. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1957 and the Companion of Honor in 1984. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 2001. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE. ” - Syl
Vidkun Quisling
Norwegian traitor Vidkun Quisling was born in 1887. An army officer, he served as military attaché in Petrograd from 1918-19 and in Helsinki from 1919-21, later assisting Fridtjof Nansen in relief work in Russia. He was Norwegian minister of defense from 1931 to 1933. He then left the Agrarian party to found the fascist Nasjonal Samling [National Unity] party...
“ He was awarded the CBE in 1929 but was stripped of his title in 1940 for his collaboration with Nazi Germany's occupation of Norway during World War II. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1977. ” - Syl
“ She declined a CBE in 2000. ” - Syl
“ She declined an MBE in 1997 but later accepted a CBE in 2006. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE in 1993. ” - Syl
“ He declined a CBE but accepted Knighthood in 2000. ” - Syl
Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris came to London in 1952 to study Art. A year later he was appearing on TV as an artist and storyteller and had his first hit as a singer in the early sixties with Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport. After a relatively quiet period in his life in the late seventies, his brother Bruce Harris became his manager and reinvented him...
“ Due to his recent convictions, I expect that his honours of a CBE; OBE; & MBE to be rescinded fully. I am deeply saddened by the turn of events. His CBE was stripped. ” - Syl
“ allegedly declined previous honors but was awarded the CBE & Knighthood. ” - Syl
Winston Churchill
Born in Blenheim Palace, the residence of his grandfather, the 7th Duke of Marlborough. His father was the Duke's third son, Lord Randolph Churchill. His mother, Jennie Jerome, was the daughter of an American financier. After passing through famous English public schools such as Harrow, he went on to fulfill his ambition for a life in the army...
“ He refused the Knight of the Order of the Garter after losing the election but accepted the honor in 1953. He was also awarded the Order of Merit (OM) and CH (Companion of Honor). He was offered Dukedom of London but declined to remain in the House of Commons. ” - Syl
Robert Morley
English character actor Robert Morley was educated in England, Germany, France and Italy. His family planned for him to go into the diplomatic service but he liked the idea of acting more. After studying at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London he appeared on the London stage in 1929 and in 1938 he first appeared on Broadway as the lead in Oscar Wilde...
“ declined Knighthood in 1975 but accepted a CBE in 1957. ” - Syl
“ He was 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Knight of the Garter, PC, FRS, statesman, and Prime Minister; declined dukedom. ” - Syl
“ 5th Earl of Harewood; GCVO; he declined Marquessate. ” - Syl
“ former Prime Minister in 1999; accepted the Earldom of Balfour in 1922. ” - Syl
“ Knight of the Garter, Companion of Honor; PC; Conservative Politician in 1964; accepted life peerage as Baron Butler of Saffron Walden in 1965. Declined Earldom in 1964. ” - Syl
“ Declined the Knight of the Garter in October 1940 and Earldom. ” - Syl
“ Sir Anthony Eden was awarded the Knight of the Order of the Garter, Military Cross. He retired as Prime Minister in 1957. Declined an earldom but later accepted the Earldom of Avon in 1961. ” - Syl
“ Prime Minister in 1885; declined Earldom. ” - Syl
Harold Macmillan
Harold MacMillan was born in London in 1894, the grandson of publisher Daniel MacMillan. Educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, he joined the Grenadier Guards in 1914. Serving on the Western front, he was present at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In 1924 he stood as Conservative candidate for Stockton-on-Tees...
“ OM, PC, statesman and prime minister. declined earldom in 1963 but later accepted Earldom of Stockton in 1984. ” - Syl
“ Declined Viscountcy; 2nd Baron Altrincham, writer, historian and politician. ” - Syl
“ Sir; Private Secretary to the Sovereign; declined Barony in 1953. ” - Syl
“ OM; philosopher; declined Life Peerage (Barony) in 1980. ” - Syl
“ Declined Order of the Garter and the Order of the Thistle in 2007. Declined Life Peerage (Barony). ” - Syl
“ Labour MP; Secretary of State for Employment 1974-1979; declined Life Peerage (Barony) on democratic and socialist grounds. ” - Syl
“ declined Life Peerage (Barony). ” - Syl
“ Labour MP and Cabinet Minister; declined Life Peerage (Barony). ” - Syl
“ Labour Party leader 1980-1983. Declined Life Peerage (Barony). ” - Syl
“ journalist, industrial correspondent, declined life peerage in the mid 1970s. ” - Syl
Edward Heath
Edward Heath was born in 1916 in Broadstairs, Kent. His father was a carpenter, his mother was a maid and his background was very modest. He attended Balliol College at Oxford, where he earned a second-class degree in philosophy, politics and economics. He got active in Conservative Party politics while at Oxford...
“ former Prime Minister; preferred to retain a seat as MP; declined Life Peerage (Barony). ” - Syl
“ Liberal MP 1951-1964; declined a Life Peerage (barony) in 1967. ” - Syl
“ author, journalist, broadcaster; declined a Life Peerage (Barony) in 1967. He joined the SNP but later accepted a KBE. ” - Syl
John Major
John Major was born on March 29, 1943 in London. He was the son of Tom Major-Ball, a retired circus performer who was 65 when John Major was born. He attended Cheam Common Primary School and Rutlish Grammar School, where he had an undistinguished academic career. In the mid '50s, his family was forced to move to Brixton...
“ former Prime Minister; He was awarded Knighthood and CH. Declined life peerage (barony) in 2001. He later accepted the KG. ” - Syl
“ Roman Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster. He declined Life Peerage (Barony) in 2009 on advice from the Vatican. ” - Syl
J.B. Priestley
Writer, Last Holiday
John Boynton Priestley was one of England's last great writers--he was a member of the last generation of freethinking British "sages" who contemplated both science and philosophy in their literary output. Today his books are mostly out of print and his name is all but forgotten except in the dusty...
“ Author; declined life peerage (barony) in 1965 and declined CH in 1969. ” - Syl
“ General Secretary TUC from 1984 to 1993; declined Life Peerage (Barony) . ” - Syl
“ General Secertary TUC; declined life peerage (Barony) in 1970 as being incompatible with democratic socialism. ” - Syl
“ trade union leader; he advocated the abolition of the House of Lords. He declined Life Peerage (Barony). ” - Syl
Prince Philip
Prince Phillip was born on 10 June 1921 as a Prince of Greece and Denmark. His family was deposed and he lived in France and finally went to boarding school in Gordonstoun in Scotland. Eventually he sent his boys there. When he was 18 he met 13 year old Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth, his third cousin from their descent from Queen Victoria...
“ As part of House of Lords reform in 1999, Royal Family members were offered life peerages which would have given them the automatic right to sit in the House of Lords but all declined. ” - Syl
Prince Charles
Prince Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten was born on November 14, 1948, almost a year after his parents' marriage. His mother is Princess Elizabeth, who later became Queen Elizabeth II and his father is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His sister Anne was born in 1950 and later, in the 60s, came the births of brothers Andrew and Edward...
“ As part of House of Lords reform in 1999, Royal Family members were offered life peerages which would have given them the automatic right to sit in the House of Lords but all declined. ” - Syl
“ As part of House of Lords reform in 1999, Royal Family members were offered life peerages which would have given them the automatic right to sit in the House of Lords but all declined. ” - Syl
“ As part of House of Lords reform in 1999, Royal Family members were offered life peerages which would have given them the automatic right to sit in the House of Lords but all declined. ” - Syl
“ As part of House of Lords reform in 1999, Royal Family members were offered life peerages which would have given them the automatic right to sit in the House of Lords but all declined. ” - Syl
“ As part of House of Lords reform in 1999, Royal Family members were offered life peerages which would have given them the automatic right to sit in the House of Lords but all declined. ” - Syl
“ artist; declined knighthood in 2003. ” - Syl
“ Author; declined Knighthood offered for service in running British government's French Propaganda department during World War I. ” - Syl
“ declined knighthood in 2013. ” - Syl
Peter Brook
Born in London, Peter was educated at Westminster, and Magdalen College Oxford. He has staged numerous productions for Birmingham Rep, Stratford Upon Avon and Broadway. In 1962 he was appointed Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a position he held for 2 decades. His most famous stage productions have been Marat/Sade...
“ Declined Knighthood. ” - Syl
“ Declined a CBE in 1963 and Knighthood. ” - Syl
“ Declined Knighthood in 1953 but later accepted an Order of Merit in 1973. ” - Syl
Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday was an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history...
“ Declined Knighthood. ” - Syl
“ twice declined Knighthood. ” - Syl
“ declined knighthood in 1949 but accepted a Companion of Honor in the 1953 New Year's Honours List and Order of Merit in 1969. ” - Syl
“ Declined Knighthood but accepted the Order of Merit in 1929. ” - Syl
“ Declined Knighthood (KBE) in 1951. ” - Syl
“ novelist; declined knighthood but accepted Order of Merit. ” - Syl
“ Declined knighthood in 1952. ” - Syl
“ declined Knighthood but accepted CH (Companion of Honour). ” - Syl