Disgraced public figures who have been stripped of their honours

September 18, 2020

After years of allegations, a landmark court trial and convictions for rape and sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein has had his honorary CBE removed.

A notice in The Gazette announced that the Queen had approved the decision for the 68-year-old producer to have his honour "cancelled and annulled" and his name "erased from the register".

Weinstein is far from the first public figure to be stripped of their distinction after a fall from grace. Here are some of the people who have forfeited their awards.

Rolf Harris

Disgraced children's entertainer Rolf Harris was stripped of his CBE in 2015 after being found guilty of sex attacks on girls as young as seven.

In July 2014, the 90-year-old was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison, but he was released on licence three years later.

Harris had been awarded the honour in 2006, a year after painting the Queen's portrait to mark her 80th birthday.

He has also been stripped of honours in his native Australia, his BAFTA fellowship and an honorary degree from the University of East London.

Stuart Hall

Broadcaster Stuart Hall was stripped of his OBE in 2013 following his conviction for sex offences against children.

The former It's A Knockout presenter was made an OBE in 2012 for services to broadcasting and charity.

He was jailed for 30 months after admitting 14 charges of indecent assault on girls aged between nine and 17 between 1967 and 1985.

He was released from jail in 2015 after serving half of his sentence.

Jimmy Savile

DJ and broadcaster Jimmy Savile was awarded an OBE in 1972, and was knighted in 1990 for his services to charity, giving him the title Sir.

Savile is suspected to have raped 34 women and girls and sexually assaulted up to 450 people, including some as young as eight, according to an official report.

Despite persistent rumours of paedophilia, he held the honours throughout his lifetime.

After Savile's death in 2011, aged 84, the Honours Forfeiture Committee faced calls to remove his honours.

Despite there being no procedure to posthumously revoke an OBE or knighthood because honours automatically expire when a person dies, the committee said they would consider introducing one due to the severity of his crimes.

'Prince' Naseem

Former world featherweight boxing champion 'Prince' Naseem Hamed was stripped of his MBE in 2007 following a conviction for dangerous driving.

He was handed a jail sentence of 15 months after being found guilty of causing a 90mph crash in his £320,000 Mercedes McLaren, leaving another man with fractures to every major bone in his body.

He served just 16 weeks of his sentence, despite previously having been banned from driving after speeding at more than 100mph.

Naseem had been awarded the honour in 1998.

Lester Piggott

Former jockey Lester Piggott was stripped of his OBE after he was jailed in 1987 for tax fraud.

He had been awarded it in 1975.

Now 84, Piggott is one of the most successful jockeys ever to have competed in the sport, with more than 5,000 winners worldwide and a record nine Epsom Derby wins.

Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was knighted during his 1994 visit to the UK.

It was honorary as he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth country.

However, his honorary knighthood was revoked in 2008 when news of him killing his opponents emerged.

The honour had been bestowed despite reports of him slaughtering thousands in the 1980s as part of crackdowns on rebel groups.

Mugabe had also presided over the forced takeover of white-owned farms which helped ruin the country's economy, and his wife earned the nickname of "Gucci Grace" thanks to her penchant for shopping.

Nicolae Ceausescu

Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was awarded an MBE in 1978, in a bid to improve relations within Europe during the Cold War.

At the time, according to royal author Robert Hardman, the Queen took drastic steps to avoid meeting the dictator, including hiding behind a bush while walking the corgis.

Ceausescu's knighthood was revoked in 1989, the day before he was executed by a revolutionary firing squad in Romania.

Benito Mussolini

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross, by King George V in 1923.

He was swiftly stripped of the honour in 1940 after declaring war on the UK.

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