Who snubbed honours from the Queen?

PA Wire

Official records published on Wednesday have revealed a list of 277 people who have turned down honours from the Queen in the past 40 years.

The list, which only includes those who have snubbed an offer and since died, reveals rejections from 277 people including children's author Roald Dahl, director Alfred Hitchcock and artist Lucian Freud.
The list, which covers the time between 1951 and 1999, was released by the Cabinet Office. It is the first official confirmation that a large number of people have rejected honours from the annual New Year and Birthday Honours lists.

Until now reports of anyone turning down honours from the Queen have been based purely on leaked lists, and the information has been so secret it was not even disclosed in the regular release of government documents under the 30-year rule.

Following a 15-month battle under the Freedom of Information Act, the list was released after an order from the information watchdog. The news comes as Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss with a Whitehall committee whether to strip Sir Fred Goodwin, the disgraced banker and former chief executive of RBS, of his knighthood.

The names on the once secret list include many of the most famous figures from the arts and journalism over the past 40 years, including Francis Bacon who turned down a CBE in 1960, and Lucian Freud who refused a CBE in the 1977 New Year's Honours list.

Snubbing an honour was not however a barrier against being asked again. LS Lowry rejected an honour on a record five occasions, including an OBE in 1955, a CBE in 1961, a knighthood in 1968 and an invitation to become a Companion of Honour in 1972 and 1976.

Click the gallery below to see some of those who have refused honours.

Who snubbed honours from the Queen?
See Gallery
Who snubbed honours from the Queen?

Refused an OBE in 1960

Refused an OBE in 1986

Refused a Companion of Honour (CH) in 1969

Refused a CBE in 1977

Refused a CBE in 1962


Among the famous writers to snub an honour were Roald Dahl, who rejected an OBE in the 1986 New Year's Honours, Graham Greene, who turned down a CBE in 1956 and CS Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, who rejected a CBE in 1952. Some of them did go on to accept honours at a later date.

Actor Robert Morley accepted an OBE in 1957 but rejected a knighthood in the 1975 Birthday Honours list, while Brief Encounter actor Trevor Howard, turned down a CBE in 1982. Playwright JB Priestley was the only person to reject a life peerage, turning down the honour in 1965, and a subsequent invitation to be made a Companion of Honour in 1969.

Sculptor Henry Moore refused a knighthood in the 1951 New Year's Honours, although subsequently accepted other honours, while Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, refused a knighthood in 1959, and Evelyn Waugh, who wrote Brideshead Revisited, snubbed a CBE in 1959.

Alfred Hitchcock, who directed films including Psycho and The Birds, turned down a CBE in 1962, although he subsequently accepted a knighthood just before he died.

Poets Robert Graves and Philip Larkin both snubbed honours. Graves rejected a CBE in 1957 and an invitation to join the Companions of Honour in 1984, and Larkin rejected the offer of an OBE in 1968.
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