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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Helen Mirren

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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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