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How To Obtain a Knighthood in the UK?

There is no longer a time when you had to be able to wield a sword and have a loyal squire at your side in order to be knight. Luckily for you all that the requirements for knighthood today are easier to attain and we’re going to let you know all about it!

What exactly is knighthood?

The knighthood tradition and culture have deep roots across several European countries , including the UK for centuries.

While there are other orders in the United States however, the majority of prizes are presented through the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. In the past, the Order would just award individuals for their military and civilian actions during wartime however, since 1917, they have also offered a wider range of accomplishments. This could be however, they are not limited to, long-term volunteer assistance for (local) community groups, ingenuous contributions to any region or long-term service , and cultural contributions to the nation, for instance.

What knighthood ranks exist?

As per the Cabinet Office, there are five classes of ranks within the Order. They are ranked in order of importance:

Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE)
Knight Commander, or Lady Commander in the Order of the British Empire (KBE)
The Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Awarded to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
A member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Only the highest two ranks can wear the titles “Sir” as well as “Dame” However, everyone else can put their rank’s initials at beginning of their name, such as for instance “Ronnie O’Sullivan OBE”. In addition, all members are able to wear distinctive insignias or medals based on their rank. For Knights or Dames Great Cross, they’re permitted to wear an exclusive outfit which consists of the grey and pink satin mantle, and an eagle collar with six gold medallions. This is to mark special occasions, such as coronations.

Can non-British citizens get knighted?

Yes, but it comes with specific rules. Non-Brits with a notable status are only eligible for “honorary knighthoods” that permit them to use post-nominal letters, such as KBE or DBEhowever they cannot use those of Sir and Dame. If they later decide to become citizens of an Commonwealth country, the honorary titles they have earned will be “upgraded” to full knighthood, and they will enjoy the benefits that come with it.

It is not uncommon to find famous personalities who have the honorary knighthood title, including Bill Gates, Bono or Steven Spielberg. However, one of the most well-known instances can be Terry Wogan, an Irish-born person who, was in 2005 appointed an honorary Knight Commander . Then, after having applied for British citizenship, was “bumped into” by Sir Terry Wogan.

Have you ever heard of anyone who refused knighthood?

Although being selected to the Order of St. John is thought of as an honour for many of your peers, you may decline the honor. A little over 2% of nominees decline the award every year because of its military roots. There are many famous people and artists who have refused the award, such as David Bowie – who declined twice- Keith Richards or T.E. Lawrence and many others who accepted the award but later decided to renounce it, such as John Lennon, who sent back his award during the peace protests that he was a part of.

Get in touch with the experts at Bayleaf for information on how to become a Sir.