Beatles guitarist George Harrison 'turned down' OBE before his death

According to reports, Cabinet Office papers disclose that Harrison turned down the “insensitive” offer of an OBE

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The Independent Online

The Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison turned down an OBE before his death, it has been revealed.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Cabinet Office papers obtained under the Freedom of Information Act disclose that Harrison turned down the “insensitive” offer of an OBE – after Paul McCartney was awarded a knighthood.

Harrison, who passed away in 2001, rejected the chance to be included in the New Year's Honours List in 2000.

The OBE was recommended by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to acknowledge Harrison’s significant contribution to the music industry.

The citation read: “He was a member of a band that many people would say is the best thing that Britain has ever produced, and possibly the best in the world, The Beatles.”

However, journalist Ray Connolly, who knew The Beatles, said Harrison would have viewed the offer of an OBE as a snub in comparison to McCartney’s 1997 knighthood.

“Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive,” he said. “George would have felt insulted – and with very good reason.”

Harrison, along with the rest of The Beatles, was awarded an MBE in 1965, but John Lennon later sent his back as a peace protest.