Non-British citizens receiving an honorary knighhood many not call themselves "Sir". Is that correc

Non-British citizens receiving an honorary knighhood many not call themselves “Sir”. Is that correct?

I seen to remember “Sir Bob Geldof”. He’s Irish if I’m not mistaken. I also remember “Sir” Allen Stanford of Stanford Group (and his $9.2 billion Ponzi scheme) who was knighted in 2006 by Antigua (part of the British Commonwealth) but he’s a 5th generation Texan.
So what is the deal on knighthoods for non-British citizens and can they call themselves Sir or not?

I look forward to your feedback.

“When a foreign national receives an honorary knighthood of an order of chivalry, he is not entitled to the prefix Sir, but he may place the appropriate letters after his name. … An honorary knight of an order of chivalry uses the appropriate letters after his name, but without the prefix Sir because he is not eligible to receive the accolade.”
Elizabeth Wyse, Jo Aitchison, Zöe Gullen, Eleanor Mathieson, ed. (2006). “Forms of Address”. Debrett’s Correct Form (2006 ed.). Richmond, Surrey: Debrett’s Limited. pp. 98, 100. ISBN 978-1-870520-88-1.*

Bob Geldof as a non-Commonwealth national cannot formally use “Sir”, but that doesn’t stop other people from using it incorrectly about him.

It’s correct that honorary knighthoods don’t come with any special entitlement to be “sir X,” but I don’t think any countries have laws forbidding honorary knights from using it anyways. It just won’t be recognized by any official authorities.

Allen Stanford is a naturalized Antiguan citizen according to this article.

It’s a common mistake, I think. Gordon Brown referred to “Sir Edward Kennedy” when he announced his honorary knighthood.

Most Commonwealth nationals don’t get to have it either. Citizens of Commonwealth republics get honorary awards, at least in the UK and New Zealand.

Another one is Bill Gates. Not Sir William Henry Gates but rather William Henry Gates III KBE should he choose (KBE = Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire).

I remember when General Norman Schwarzkopf was knighted following the Gulf War. A spokesperson noted that the restriction didn’t really matter: “We all call him ‘sir’ anyway”.

I still giggle when people try to distinguish between regular and “honorary” knighthoods. Like the regular ones are expected to get some armor and saddle up to defend the queen or something.

They’re all honorary, folks.

I think the correct term is that one is a supernumery member of the order, i.e. beyond the approved maximum number.

“Honorary” in the context of knighthoods refers to people who are not citizens of a Commonwealth realm. The idea is that these people are not subjects of the Queen and can therefore not owe her the same loyalty as a citizen of a Commonwealth realm could. For the latter, the knighthood would not be considered “honorary”.

Indeed, they say that an honour is without profit in our own country.

(old joke, I know)

So my plan is to move to London, do my 5 years of the Lunar House shuffle and then apply for citizenship. Since I plan on getting my knighthood earlier rather than later i.e. within the first five years, can I be called Sir Saint Cad once I get British (or United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland) citizenship?

Similarly, if Scotland secedes, will their knights be allowed to use Sir? Would it be a “in Scotland” only thing? Would it make a difference if they dump Ellie 2 and have Francis 1 (the Stuart pretender not the Pope) as king?

It all depends on the details of Scottish secession should it occur, of course. The plan of the Scottish government (which favours secession) is to establish a monarchy in a personal union with what remains of the United Kingdom. It would, essentially, be a relationship similar to that between the Commonwealth kingdoms now, so knights with Scottish citizenship would be entitled to the “Sir” prefix just like those of Australian, Canadian etc. citizenship are now.

I remember when Bob Geldof got his knighthood, the media took pains to point out that he wasn’t “Sir Bob”. But of course nobody really took any notice.

I understand the Saint title would more or less override the Sir. You would still be Saint Cad. That’s how it worked with Thomas Moore, at least.

Move to Australia instead. The food is better, the climate more comfortable and when you are knighted by the Queen of Australia you receive vegemite with your title. Plus, if you ever travel to England you can storm Buckingham Palace riding an emu, throwing boomerangs to disable Palace guards.

I guess in the second case, the situation would be analogous to that of Tonga: A member of the Commonwealth which has its own monarchy rather than being a republic, or remaining in personal union with the UK. Citizens of Tonga are, to my knowledge, not entitled to the “Sir” prefix when knighted, since they are not subjects of the Queen.

Canada is a Commonwealth realm that doesn’t allow it’s citizens to get either real or honorary knighthoods.

Before I thought only Englishmen can be called ‘Sir.’ KBE Bob Geldof is Irish, right?

The present rule is that all Commonwealth nation citizens can be styled ‘Sir’. Ireland left the Commonwealth in 1949, having been semi-detached for years, so Geldorf would be Mr. Bob Geldorf, KBE. However the Press often fail to note the difference correctly.
In recent years both Canada and Australia have asked Britain not to award their nationals any of the old British honours as they are trying to push their own native versions and it is seen as ‘devaluing the currency’ if people think they might get a British one instead. Conrad Black promptly changed his nationality to get a UK Peerage, much to Canada’s annoyance.

Canada has no law forbidding its citizens from accepting knighthoods. It asks that Britain please not give any to its citizens, but if it happens anyways, that’s just the way it is. Canadian citizens resident in Britain have received substantive knighthoods.

Commonwealth realm citizens.