New Year's Honours: 20 Celebrities Who Spurned The Queen And Turned Down Their Honours

30/12/2015 16:46 | Updated 31 December 2015

Hundreds of people have been recognised in the New Year's Honours list, released on Wednesday night, but not everyone is so eager to welcome the gesture from the Queen.

Danny Boyle, Jon Snow and Stephen Hawking are among the celebrities to have shunned the offer.

Here is a list of 20 celebrities to turn down their honours:

  • 1 Danny Boyle
    Richard Shotwell/AP
    The director and master behind the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony revealed that he turned down an honour because: "It’s just not me".
  • 2 Jim Broadbent
    Anthony Devlin/PA Archive
    Jim Broadbent said in 2012: "I was offered an OBE a couple of years ago, but I said, 'no’, and turned it down."
    The actor said that the honour should be given to those who help others.
    He said: "I’m not that comfortable with actors receiving honours, partly because I think they ought to go to those who really help others.
    "Besides, I like the idea of actors not being part of the Establishment.
    "We’re vagabonds and rogues, and we’re not a part of the authorities and Establishment, really. If you mix the two together, things get blurry."
  • 3 Jon Snow
    Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Archive
    The renowned journalist has declined an offer of an OBE.
    Jon Snow reportedly said that he did so because he believed that working journalists should not take honours from those about whom they report.
    He said: "I tried to find out why I’d been given it and was unable to get a clear answer or, indeed, to find out who had proposed me."
  • 4 Benjamin Zephaniah
    The poet made a public refusal to collect an OBE in 2003.
    Writing in the Guardian at the time, Benjamin Zephaniah explained why he refused to be appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire.
    He wrote: "Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. "I get angry when I hear that word "empire"; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised."
    He added: "I am not one of those who are obsessed with their roots, and I'm certainly not suffering from a crisis of identity; my obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE - no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire."
  • 5 Paul Weller
    Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick
    The musician rejected a CBE in 2006.
    In a statement a spokeswoman for Weller said: "Paul was surprised and flattered, but it wasn’t really for him."
  • 6 French and Saunders
    Comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders turned down OBEs "for services to comedy drama" in 2001. Saunders later revealed why they turned down the honour offered to them.
    "If I felt I deserved a Damehood I’d accept it," she told Source magazine.
    "At the time, we felt that we were being paid very well to have a lot of fun. It didn’t seem right somehow.
    "We didn’t deserve a pat on the back. It felt a bit fake to stand alongside people who devoted their lives to truly worthy causes."
  • 7 Nigella Lawson
    Yui Mok/PA Wire
    In 2001, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson turned down an OBE.
    It is not known why she rejected the offer.
  • 8 David Bowie
    Yui Mok/PA Wire
    The musician turned down an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours in 2000.
    David Bowie suggested that he turned down the honour because he did not see the point in it.
    He said: "I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for."
    Addressing fellow musician, Mick Jagger, accepting the honour, Bowie said: "It's not my place to make a judgment on Jagger, it's his decision. But it's just not for me."
  • 9 Albert Finney
    William Conran/PA Archive
    Actor Albert Finney turned down a CBE in 1980 and rejected a knighthood in 2000.
  • 10 Stephen Hawking
    Stephen Hawking revealed in 2008 that he had been approached with the offer of a knighthood in the late 1990s, but declined.
    It has been reported that this is because of the UK government's handling of science funding.
  • 11 Alan Bennett
    Doug Peters/Doug Peters
    Alan Bennett turned down the offer of a CBE in 1988 and then rejected a knighthood in 1996.

    The playwright and author said that the reason for doing so was because he did not believe that he could carry off being a knight.
    He said: "I felt that, in my case, it just wouldn't suit me, that's all. It would be like wearing a suit every day of your life."
  • 12 John Cleese
    Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA
    The Monty Python star was offered a CBE in 1996 but refused because he thought they were "silly".
  • 13 Roald Dahl
    The children's author, beloved by many for his books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and The Fantastic Mr Fox, as well as being grandfather to model Sophie Dahl, refused an OBE in 1986.
  • 14 Audrey Callaghan
    In 1979 - shortly after her husband James led the Labour Party into the start of an eighteen-year period out of office - Audrey Callaghan refused a Damehood from Margaret Thatcher.
  • 15 John Lennon
    John Lennon is one of the few honours recipients to send his back, returning his MBE in 1969 in protest against Britain's foreign policy.
    He reportedly wrote to the Queen, informing her: "Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a 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."
  • 16 Hughie Green
    The Opportunity Knocks presenter snubbed an OBE in 1960, at a time when he was reaching new heights in his entertainment career as the host of "Double Your Money".
  • 17 LS Lowry
    Between 1955 and 1976 the painter turned down honours five times : an OBE, a CBE, a knighthood and Companion of Honour (twice).
  • 18 Aldous Huxley
    The Brave New World author refused a knighthood in 1959.
  • 19 Evelyn Waugh
    The Brideshead Revisited scribe snubbed a CBE in 1959.
  • 20 CS Lewis
    The creator of the Chronicles of Narnia series of books declined a CBE in 1952.
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