Why was Paul McCartney knighted, but not John Lennon or George Harrison?

TODD B writes ...

All four Beatles were made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965. There are five classes to the Order of the British Empire (Member, Officer, Commander, Knight Commander, and Knight Grand Cross) and MBE is the lowest level with the highest being Knight. But in Lennon’s case it was fairly simple and straightforward as to why he ultimately wasn’t knighted. In 1969 Lennon returned his MBE to the Palace as a protest against the UK’s role in the ongoing Nigerian Civil War and the Vietnam War. If Lennon didn’t want his MBE why on earth would the Palace decide to knight him in the Order of the British Empire or one of the other orders? In the 1970s Lennon moved to the United States, so clearly, he was fed up with life in the UK. In his usual passive-aggressive manner he let it be known he wasn’t really interested in such honors. (Below: The Fab Four with their MBEs)

In Harrison’s case it is quite a bit sadder. Harrison was involved in many charities and had raised a considerable amount of money for them. His HandMade Films did a great deal for promoting the British film industry and the arts and you would think based on all of that he would be a natural to be knighted. McCartney was knighted in 1997 and it would have seemed that Harrison should have been on track to be knighted as well, especially after he was diagnosed with cancer that same year. Worse still he was brutally attacked and nearly killed in 1999. Yet the Palace, for some insane reason, felt he only warranted being promoted up one grade level to Officer level. It was incredibly insensitive and insulting and rather a bit of a slap in the face. But Harrison was unfailingly gracious and declined the honor, saying he was content with his MBE. Public knowledge of the OBE offer wasn’t revealed until after Harrison’s passing in 2001, but you can only imagine how hurt and offended he was. The Palace was clearly chastened and ashamed by how poorly they treated Harrison and rectified it by awarding Ringo Starr knighthood in 2018, although that was shockingly late in coming as well.

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