Receiving Damehood is an extremely high honor, however, being offered the title does not necessarily mean it has to be accepted. According to The Sun, singer Ariana Grande has reportedly turned down the gesture in honor of the victims of the Manchester terror attack and their families.
The Thank U, Next singer was chosen to be a recipient of such an honor following her response to a terrorist attack during a performance in Manchester back in May 2017. The attack left 22 dead and hundreds injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive.
Two weeks after the devastating event, Ariana set up the One Love Manchester benefit concert where she performed alongside a number of other artists including Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Justin Bieber. The event raised more than £17 million for families of the victims of the attack. She also visited survivors and fans in the hospital as they recovered.
Ariana was reportedly going to be included in the New Years Honors list among other stars such as Monty Python’s Michael Palin. The Honors Committee wanted to make her a Dame Commander of the British Empire, a title given to foreign nationals.
A source close to the singer, however, explained that she “was flattered but said it was too soon.”
“She explained she was still grieving. So were scores of families,” the insider explained. “She feared some affected might see it as insensitive. The committee wrote to her but she politely said no.”
Another source added that Ariana was “deeply moved and honored” at the gesture, but did not feel it was the right time to accept it.
Ariana’s decision to decline the invitation was certainly appreciated by those affected by the event, including Charlotte Hodgson, whose 15-year-old daughter Olivia tragically lost her life in the attack.
“It’s a lovely gesture,” Hodgson told the Sun. “She’s right–maybe it is a bit too soon. She’s lovely and would never do anything to hurt any of us.”
As noted by the Daily Mail, the title chosen for Ariana would not have allowed her to introduce her as a Dame because of her U.S. nationality, but she would have been able to use the initials “DBE” after her name. Ariana was, however, given honorary Manchester citizenship, which could have potentially changed how she was able to refer to herself had she accepted the honor.
The singer is not the first person to decline such an honor, as writer Roald Dahl and painter L.S. Lowry have as well.