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22 Huge Celebrities Who Turned Down Knighthoods

Updated March 5, 2021 304 votes 98 voters 29.9k views22 items

List RulesVote up the most surprising celebrity who turned down the Crown.

These days, knights aren’t expected to live in castles, fight dragons, or rescue maidens, but the list of celebrities who turned down knighthoods is still rather long. The famous people who refused to be knighted aren’t afraid of having to do battle - instead their reasoning for rejecting honors from the Queen are as varied as can be. Some chose to turn down the honor to make a principled stance, while others simply couldn’t be bothered. In most cases, the public only knows about the rejections due to a freedom of information request by the BBC in 2012.

The system by which the Queen of England honors and knights various people is quite complex. Although there are other paths to knighthood, the most well-known is the Order of the British Empire, an honor bestowed by the Queen to those deemed worthy. The Order has a number of tiers, with the two highest, Knight/Dame Grand Cross and Knight/Dame Commander, carry the distinction of knighthood and the title of “sir” or “dame.” The three lower tiers, Officer (OBE), Commander (CBE), and Member (MBE), are not officially made knights, but still represent a tremendous honor and have essentially become a sort of “British Hall of Fame.” However, it’s still quite a distinction, and thus a gutsy thing for a person to turn down.

Read on for a list of celebrities who decided knighthood wasn't for them.