Brits, Q. on titles?

I’m woefully ignorant about royal titles and my question may be evidence of that, but we, in the U.S., often hear of someone being knighted, (and whatever the female equivalent is) apparently for their life achievements. I’m curious whether this is something people seek out, compete or lobby for, or is it more serendipitous?
If there’s competition, how does a person go about contending for it. Is there specific criteria? Who actually performs the selection?
I’m putting this in IMHO because I doubt there’s a definitive answer.

Knighthood for a man; damehood for a woman.

This site gives lots of information. In general honours are granted by the monarch on the advice of the PM. Anyone can nominate someone for an honour. However, some of the more exclusive honours (such as the Garter) are bestowed purely at the monarch’s choice.

‘Lending’ large amounts of money to political parties sure seems to help.

MANY honours are given because of a persons charitable or dotable deeds. What they did had nothing to do with wanting an honour more to do with WHAT they did.

Why would they pay for that? It provides no actual benefit just the benfit of being recognised for doing good things. NO MONEY!

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, Do-it-yourself English?

I suppose some people regard it as a very exclusive club, or they might feel that being a member of the nobility rather than a mere commoner appeals to their sense of self-worth. Also, if you’re awarded a life peerage, not only can you tell people to call you by your fancy new title of Lord Whozat or Baron Whozat of Wherenow, but you may also be eligible for a seat in the House of Lords, which still somehow has legislative and judicial function in the UK. Conrad Black gave up his Canadian citizenship to become Baron Black of Crossharbour.

A knighthood is not a “royal” title. The word “royal” applies only to the monarch and her family.

A knighthood is also not a title of nobility, which in the United Kingdom includes dukes, earls, viscounts, marquesses, barons (lords), and (non-heritable) baronets.

Some nobles are royal nobles, such as the queen’s relatives who are dukes or earls.

Knighthoods are honours of a lower rank than nobility.

Formally, it’s the monarch who hands out titles. However, in practice, it’s the current government who decides who gets them. It can often be a very political process. Every year on Jan. 1, the prime minister’s office publishes an “honours list,” which states who is getting knighthoods and other non-noble titles (such as Order of the British Empire). Knights can also get “promoted” in the honours list. Most knighthood orders have three ranks (such as “companion,” “knight commander,” and “knight grand cross”).

And there’s even a rank of “knight bachelor,” which are kind of like junior knights who aren’t given membership in an order of knights. Most celebrities who are given knighthoods are knights bachelor.

Right. I beleive that just the basic “Order of the British Empire” (OBE) doesn’t even allow one to be adressed as “Sir Deth”

"The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions; in decreasing order of seniority, these are

Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
Knight or Dame Commander (KBE or DBE)
Commander (CBE)
Officer (OBE)
Member (MBE)
Only the two highest ranks entail admission into knighthood…
Citizens of other countries, however, may be admitted as “honorary members”. They do not count towards the numerical limits aforementioned, nor are holders of the GBE, KBE or DBE addressed as “Sir” or “Dame”. (They may be made full members if they subsequently become British citizens.) ." For example- all 4 Beatles were made members of the OBE, but only John was acutally Knighted, and that rather recently (1997). And, hell just the taxes he’s paid qualifies him for something.

But generally, when you hear of some star or industrialist being 'given a Knighthood" in the US press, it’s usually “just” an “OBE” or “MBE” (which despite my saying “just” I certainly wouldn’t turn down).

Paul was knighted in 1997. John was killed in 1980.

How cynical.

Seems to be true though. :smack:

Of course, there are people who turn down these honours, but the government, the palace and these people themselves usually keep it quiet.

It is consiered terribly bad form to let people know that you don’t want that honour.

Here is a breakdown of the 2006 New Years Honours List. You’ll notice that there are a lot of awards for public service as well as for politicians.

Except if your name is Michael Winner… He turned down an OBE because he said it was one that cleaning ladies get… the pretentious twat.

Yeah, I wasn’t sure about the term “royal” when I typed it.

So, the press often refers to many of these guys a “Sir” when it’s not actually correct?
Does the Queen actually do the sword thing on all these people, or is that reserved for the highest ranks?


Well, not on foriegners, but I am not sure about the lower ranking Orders. I *think * they are presented to HRM, but she doesn’t give them an accolade.

How do you verb that? A man gets knighted, a woman gets… what? Damed?

I don’t think I’ve seen many instances in the serious press in which someone is incorrectly is called “sir.” Knights bachelor and the knight commanders and knights grand cross of the orders of Bath, Saint Michael and Saint George, etc., are all correctly addressed as “sir.”

Occasionally an American gets an honorary knighthood. Caspar Weinberger is an honorary knight grand cross of the Order of the British Empire. I do believe that it’s incorrect to refer to him as “Sir Caspar Weinberger,” but I don’t see that as happening very often.

Women are also knighted. They are also knights, except that they are addressed as “dame” instead of as “sir.”

Having read that article, I don’t think he’s being pretentious or a twat. He believes such honours have been devalued because they are given out for reasons other than public service and, thus, he doesn’t want to be included among their ranks. The “cleaning the toilets” bit is a metaphor for political hacks.

Here’s the substantive bit of what he is quoted as saying:

He’s offering a criticism of the honours system, and, as such, it makes no sense for him to keep quiet about it.