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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Rebecca Naden/PA Archive/Press Association Images Roald Dahl in 1988.
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Roald Dahl and CS Lewis among those who refused Queen's honours
A list detailing the 277 names of people who have refused royal honours has been published for the first time.

OFFICIAL UK RECORDS have revealed a list of people who refused the Queen’s honours and it includes some very famous names from the 20th century.

Among those who turned down the Queen’s various honours were authors Roald Dahl and Belfast-born CS Lewis.

Dahl declined to accept an OBE during the Queen’s New Year’s honours of 1986, while Lewis refused a CBE before the 1952 ceremony.

The list was published by the UK government for the first time after a freedom of information request by the BBC. According to the broadcasters, the authorities had been fighting to keep the list under wraps for the past year.

The document is full of well-known names, including artist Lucien Freud who did not accept a CBE in 1977 and director Alfred Hictchcock who turned down a CBE in 1962.

The record must go to LS Lowry though who was persistent in his rejection of the honours system. The painter turned down an OBE in 1955, a CBE in ’61, a knighthood in 1968 and companion’s honours in 1972 and 1976.

There are a number of other authors who refused honours, such as JB Priestley who turned down a life peerage in 1965 and a companion’s honour four years later.

Back in 2003, a list of people – including some who are still alive today – who refused honours was leaked to the Sunday Times. It included actress Helen Mirren, rock legend David Bowie and TV cook Nigella Lawson.

They are not included in the newly-published list as it details only those who have since passed away.

The full list of those 277 people who refused honours between 1951 and 1999 and have since died can be downloaded here.

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