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

Handout photo issued by Omega Auctions of George Harrison (left) and John Lennon during The Beatles iconic Shea Stadium performance in August 1965 in New York
Handout photo issued by Omega Auctions of George Harrison (left) and John Lennon during The Beatles iconic Shea Stadium performance in August 1965 in New York

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in