And an acquaintance has suggested it was because the decoration – the lowest among the British orders of chivalry – didn’t match the knighthood given to Paul McCartney three years previously.
The UK Government’s Departure for Culture, Media and Sport recommended Harrison be given the Order of the British Empire, saying: “He was a member of a band that many people would say is the best thing that Britain has ever produced, and possibly the best in the world, The Beatles.”
But the Daily Mail quotes journalist Ray Connolly saying: “Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive. George would have felt insulted – and with very good reason.”
Harrison died in 2001, aged 58, from lung cancer. Those who received honours in the 2000 new year list included Sean Connery, Henry Cooper, Norman Wisdom, who were all knighted.
All four Beatles were awarded MBEs in 1965. John Lennon returned his to the Queen four years later in protest against the Vietnam War.