| 9.2°C Dublin

List of people who turned down Queen Elizabeth honours is published

AUTHOR Roald Dahl and artist Lucian Freud are among more than 250 people who turned down honours from the Queen between 1951 and 1999, according to official UK government records.

Painters Francis Bacon and LS Lowry, the sculptor Henry Moore and novelist Aldous Huxley are also named in the list published by the Cabinet Office.

The document, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, names a total of 277 individuals who refused prestigious accolades over the 48-year period and have since died.

The British Cabinet Office was ordered to release the information by the The Information Commissioner's Office.

It is believed to be the first official confirmation that hundreds of people have snubbed OBEs, CBEs and knighthoods in the annual New Year or Birthday Honours list.

News of people refusing an honour normally only comes to light if they volunteer the information themselves or reports are leaked.

According to the list, Lowry turned down more honours than anybody else, with a total of five, including an OBE in 1955, a CBE in 1961 and a knighthood in 1968.

Bacon turned down a CBE in 1960, while Freud refused the honour in the 1977 New Year's Honours list.

Dahl, who rejected an OBE in the 1986 New Year's Honours, was among a number of writers who snubbed the accolade including Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis, who turned down a CBE in 1952.

Film director Sir Alfred Hitchcock turned down a CBE in 1962, but went on to accept a knighthood from the Queen four months before his death in 1980.

The publication of the list comes as senior civil servants are due to decide whether ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin should be stripped of his knighthood.

The work of the Honours Forfeiture Committee is usually kept under wraps but the Prime Minister told MPs yesterday he expected it to sit in the coming days.

Political pressure has been mounting for the title awarded to Sir Fred in 2004 for "services to banking" to be withdrawn over his role in the subsequent collapse of RBS.

In the past a number of famous people have rejected or returned honours bestowed upon them by the monarch.

Beatles legend John Lennon returned his MBE in 1969, with a note to the Queen saying: "Your Majesty, I am returning this in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon of Bag."

In 2007, co-founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur Joseph Corre also rejected the title, accusing Tony Blair of being "morally corrupt".

Writer J G Ballard, who also rejected a CBE, is on record as saying he was opposed to the "preposterous charade" of the honours system.

Honours have sometimes been forfeited if a recipient is convicted of a criminal offence. These include Irish revolutionary Roger Casement who was executed for treason in the First World War and is buried in Glasnevin cemetary.