One thousand Brits were carefully selected by “People in power” to be honoured with gongs, merits and medals from the Queen. One woman on BBC Radio 2 eplained what it was like when she got her award from the Queen today.
At first when I got it I was terrified, the the envelope was so strange & frightening, but when I opened it up I realised it was an honour”
- T. S. Ashton, economic historian, Emeritus Professor of Economic History, University of London, 1957 New Year Honours
- Frank Auerbach, artist (in 2003)
- Norman H. Baynes, historian, Professor Emeritus of Byzantine History, University of London, 1951 Birthday Honours
- Alan Bennett, playwright (in 1996; had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1988)
- Arnold Bennett, novelist
- David Bowie, musician (in 2003)
- Lester Brain, aviator and airline executive (in late 1960s; later accepted appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1979)
- Francis Crick, physicist and Nobel Prize winner
- George Davies, declined offer from Prime Minister Gordon Brown
- Paul Dirac, Nobel Prize winner for physics in 1933, declined a knighthood in 1953 but accepted the OM in 1973.,
- Lionel Elvin, Principal, Ruskin College Oxford, Director of Institute of Education, University of London.
- Michael Faraday, scientist
- Harry Ferguson, businessman, engineer and inventor from Ulster
- Albert Finney, actor (in 2000, had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1980)
- E. M. Forster, author and essayist (in 1949; later accepted appointment as CH in 1953)
- Michael Frayn, FRSL, dramatist (in 2003; had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1989)
- John Galsworthy, playwright and novelist
- Graham Greene, novelist
- Calouste Gulbenkian, philanthropist, Hon KBE, 1951 New Year Honours
- Stanford G. Haughton, sound recordist (musician), 1952 New Year Honours
- Stephen Hawking, scientist
- Patrick Heron, artist, declined award of Knight Bachelor 1980s in protest at government policy on Art education.
- Keith Hill, Labour MP (2010 Dissolution Honours)
- David Hockney, CH, RA, artist (in 1990; accepted appointment as CH in 1997, and OM in 2012)
- Charles Holden, architect, declined twice, in 1944 and 1951.
- Trevor Howard, stage/film actor (in 1982)
- Aldous Huxley, author (in 1959)
- Eli Lobel, 1955 New Year Honours
- L. S. Lowry, artist (in 1968; had previously declined appointment as OBE in 1955 and CBE in 1961; later declined appointment as CH in 1972 and 1976; holds the record for the most honours declined)
- Humphrey Lytellton, jazz musician, broadcastor and author.
- Kingsley Martin journalist in 1965
- Malcolm McDowell, actor in 1993
- John Loudon McAdam, Scottish road builder
- Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum (in 1999); however, in 2010 he accepted appointment to the Order of Merit, which is in the personal gift of the British monarch
- James Meade, economist, 1969 New Years Honours
- Norman Miscampbell, Conservative MP (in 1989 Obituary The Guardian 2007)
- Henry Moore, sculptor, declined a knighthood in 1951, but accepted the Companion of Honour in 1955 and the Order of Merit in 1963.
- Stanley Morison, 1953 Coronation and Birthday Honours (later declined offer of CBE)
- Robert Morley, actor, 1975 Birthday Honours
- A.G.Norman biochemist (in 1969)
- Frank Pick, chief executive of London Transport (also declined a peerage).
- William Pember Reeves, New Zealand statesman, declined knighthood three times, including GCMG[
- J.B. Priestley, novelist and playwright.
- George Bernard Shaw, playwright and critic; also declined OM
- Paul Scofield, actor
- Alastair Sim, actor, declined a knighthood as did his father
- Quentin Skinner, historian (in 1996).
- Ralph Vaughan Williams composer
- Steven Watson historian Principal St Andrews University (in 1966)
Appointment to the Order of Merit
- A. E. Housman, poet and classical scholar (in 1929)
- George Bernard Shaw, playwright, critic, and polemicist (in 1946; Shaw replied that “merit” in authorship could only be determined by the posthumous verdict of history). Shaw had also wanted to decline a Nobel Prize for literature in 1925, but accepted it at his wife’s behest as honouring Ireland. He did reject the monetary award, requesting it be used to finance translation of Swedish books into English.
Appointment as a Companion of Honour (CH)
- Francis Bacon, Irish artist (in 1977; had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1960)
- Robert Graves, poet and novelist (in 1984; had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1957)
- L. S. Lowry RA, artist (in 1972 and 1976; had previously declined appointment as OBE in 1955 and CBE in 1961 and a knighthood in 1968; holds the record for the most honours declined)
- Philip Noel-Baker, former Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, 1965 New Year Honours(accepted a life peerage in 1977)
- J. B. Priestley, declined in 1969.
Appointment to the Order of the Bath
As Knight Companion
- Admiral George Cranfield Berkeley in 1812, expecting a peerage; he settled for the KB in 1813, which was converted to a GCB in 1815.
- Colonel Allday V. Kerrison, 1955 New Year Honours
- Bernard O’Brien, scientist, 1956 New Years Honours
Appointment to the Royal Victorian Order
As a Commander
- Craig Murray, former United Kingdom Ambassador to Uzbekistan (had previously declined appointments as LVO and OBE