Hundreds Refuse To Be Honored By Queen Elizabeth II [Video]

George Zapo - Author
By

Dec. 31 2014, Updated 10:03 a.m. ET

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Being selected and honored by Queen Elizabeth II is not always welcome news for some famous people. This may come as something of a surprise, but hundreds of people have declined honors by the reigning Queen.

This week, the British government released the New Year Honors list for 2015. Actor John Hurt and actress Joan Collins were included in the list of those to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II. In total, 1,164 people received an award. Hurt was knighted for service to Drama, whereas, Joan Collins is recognized for her services to charity.

However, a list of 277 people who declined honors by Queen Elizabeth was released not too long ago. This list remained a secret, even under the 30-year rule; however, it was eventually made public following a BBC Freedom of Information request.

According to the BBC, the names of people refusing honors by Queen Elizabeth II usually goes public if the person turning down the honor volunteers the information themselves or a report leaks out.

Included on the list of people who declined honors by the Queen are Alfred Hitchcock, George Harrison, John Lennon, and CS Lewis. Novelist Aldous Huxley, painter Francis Bacon, and sculptor Henry Moore declined to receive honors, as well. The painter LS Lowry actually turned down five honors, which happens to be the most anyone refused.

In 1962, film director Sir Alfred Hitchcock turned down an honor by Queen Elizabeth II; however, he did accept a knighthood from the Queen four months before his death in 1980.

Beatles legend John Lennon actually accepted then returned his honor.

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Lennon wrote the following to the Queen.

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“Your Majesty, I am returning this in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon of Bag.”

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In 2013, the Daily Mail reported former Beatle George Harrison felt rejected and refused honors by Queen Elizabeth II. Reports are that Harrison felt insulted since Paul McCartney was awarded knighthood and George would receive the lesser honor of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).

A journalist by the name of Ray Connolly knew The Beatles and said Harrison would have regarded the offer of the OBE as a snub.

Connolly said this about George and the award.

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“Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive. George would have felt insulted – and with very good reason.”

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Honors by Queen Elizabeth II recognize the achievement made by a large variety of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom. The lists of people who have received honors by Queen Elizabeth II and the British government are published at New Year and on the Queen’s official birthday in June.

[Photo courtesy of Getty Images / AP Photo]

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