Spies, Dictators, And Nazis: Meet 13 Other People Who Have Lost Their British honours

A knight in armour

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Queen of England has stripped former RBS CEO Fred Goodwin of his knighthood, it was reported earlier today. Goodwin was originally knighted for his contributions to the banking industry in 2004, but that doesn’t seem too fitting after RBS’ £45 billion taxpayer bailout.But Goodwin isn’t the first to lose an honorable British title. People usually lose an honour when convicted of a crime or for political reasons. There have been 34 people since 1995 who have lost the title, according to The Telegraph. When the honours forfeiture committee was set up in 1994 for the purpose of recommendation title cancellations, there had been 15 titles stripped since 1979.

The forfeiture committee recommends the title cancellations to the Queen, who has the sole power to strip individuals of the title. The news is then published and recorded in the London Gazette.

We rounded up some of the most interesting people who’ve lost their titles and the reasons why.

Anthony Blunt, art historian

Year Knighted: 1956

Year Title Stripped: 1979

Reason: Found to be part of the Cambridge Five spy ring in 1964, which passed information to Soviet Russia during the war.

Source: Telegraph

Allen Stanford, financier

Year Knighted: 2006 (in Antigua)

Year Title Stripped: 2009

Reason: Arrested for running a ponzi scheme worth over $8 billion.

Source: Telegraph

Jean Else, educator/teacher

Year Knighted: 2001

Year Title Stripped: 2011

Reason: Fired from the school for financial irregularities, then later investigated and banned from running a school.

*Else is the only woman to have her Damehood stripped.

Source: Manchester Evening News

Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe

Year Knighted: 1994 (honorary)

Year Title Stripped: 2008

Reason: Britain imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over human rights abuses in the country.

Source: Telegraph

Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian politician

Year Knighted: 1929

Year Title Stripped: 1940

Reason: Aiding the Nazis during their invasion and occupation of Norway.

Source: Wikipedia

Roger Casement, Irish diplomat and poet

Year Knighted: 1911

Year Title Stripped: 1916

Reason: Treason. He helped organise the the Irish Volunteers, a group of Irish nationalists. He was captured by the British in the Easter Rising in 1916 and hanged.

Source: Telegraph

Lester Piggott, horse jockey

Year Knighted: n/a

Year Title Stripped: 1987

Reason: Piggott spent three years in prison for tax evasion.

Source: Telegraph

Kim Philby, British intelligence officer

Year Knighted: 1946

Year Title Stripped: 1965

Reason: Part of the Cambridge Five Spy ring that passed British intelligence on to Soviet Russia.

Source: Wikipedia

Prince Naseem, professional boxer

Year MBE Given: 1999

Year Title Stripped: 2006

Reason: Arrested for crashing his car while driving 90mph. The driver of the car he hit broke every major bone in his body and suffered brain damage.

Source: Telegraph

Jack Lyons, businessman

Year Knighted: n/a

Year Title Stripped: 1991

Reason: Charged for stock-market manipulation related to shares of Guinness.

Source: Wikipedia

Albert Henry, former leader of Cook Islands

Year Knighted: 1974

Year Title Stripped: 1978

Reason: Committing electoral fraud.

Source: BBC

Terry Lewis, former Australian police commissioner

Year Knighted: 1986

Year Title Stripped: 1993

Reason: Arrested and imprisoned on charges of police corruption, found as the result of the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Source: Wikipedia

Nicolae Ceasescu, former leader of Communist Romania

Year Knighted: 1978

Year Title Stripped: 1989

Reason: His rule over Communist Romania was brutal and oppressive, and resulted in an impoverished and poor nation.

Source: Telegraph

Getting stripped of your knighthood is pretty embarrassing...

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