Six people who refused honours

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The Queen’s New Year Honours list has been announced, leaving scores of recipients beaming with pride. But not everyone has queued up to bow to the system...

Nigella Lawson


Perhaps surprisingly for the daughter of a life peer, Nigella Lawson declined an OBE. “I'm not saving lives,” the celebrity chef explained

Roald Dahl


The beloved children's author turned down an OBE, supposedly because he was holding out for a knighthood instead, but he died in 1990 without ever receiving one.

John Lennon


The Beatle returned the MBE he had been created in 1965 as a protest against Britain's involvement in “the Nigeria-Biafra thing” and its support of the US in Vietnam and against “Cold Turkey” slipping down the charts.

LS Lowry


The Mancunian painter holds the record for refusing the most state honours. In total he turned down five awards, including a knighthood, between 1955 and 1976.

Benjamin Zephaniah


Mr Zephaniah made headlines when he revealed why he had snubbed the Establishment. “OBE, me? Up yours, I thought,” the poet said.

Helen Mirren


She declined a CBE in 1996 but accepted a damehood in 2003 for services to the performing arts, three years before she won an Oscar for her turn as the Queen in the film of the same title.

More: Who said it: Mary Berry or Nigella Lawson?

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