13 of the Worst Dudes Ever Awarded Knighthoods
It’s weird that people are still knighted. You get a letter inviting you to a palace where a dude who reckons he was chosen by god taps a sword on your shoulders and then you get the word “Sir” in front of your name. It’s simultaneously too medieval and not medieval enough — it’s all feudal and hierarchical and shitty, but with only one sword. If everyone had a sword, and there was jousting, and you had to wear armor, and basically it was a lot less like a disgusting centuries-old institution of privilege and repression and more like a great evening out at a medieval-themed novelty restaurant, a lot more fun would be had by everyone.
Inevitably, a bunch of dudes awarded knighthoods are terrible. There’s a fairly openly gross system of cronyism and mutual back-scratching in place that lets Prime Ministers put their pals up for it — Boris Johnson recently tried to get his dad knighted in a particularly lame bit of nepo-daddying — and certain jobs and positions where it just becomes an expected thing to become a Sir, even if you’re a fucked-up dickbrain.
Arise, Sir Sexual Predator
Sir Jimmy Savile was a lot more than just weird — he was a monster and serial sexual offender who abused his position as a radio and TV host to prey on hundreds of children. Absolute scum.
Forsooth, Sir Illicit Pantyshots
Sir Christopher Chope is a piece of shit. He’s an MP who specializes in blocking bills that are clearly good, including making upskirting a specific offense, banning vulture funds (designed to exploit poor countries) and barring circuses from mistreating animals.
Godspeed, Sir War Crimes
When former Prime Minister Tony Blair was made Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the most senior British order of chivalry, over one million people signed a change.org petition objecting — given his, y’know, war crimes.
Harken, Sir Committed Bully
Gavin Williamson — an asshole — was Education Secretary during COVID and completely whiffed it. He repeatedly bullied colleagues, ordering one to jump out of a window and another to “slit your throat.” He was knighted in 2022 and remains a prick.
Prithee, Sir Crimes Against Humanity
Robert Mugabe was responsible for a lot of deaths, ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist and was accused of a hideous amount of crimes against humanity. He, uh, was given an honorary knighthood in 1994, which was revoked in 2008.
Gadzooks, Sir Genocide
Nicolai Ceaușescu was stripped of his honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath status by Elizabeth II the day before his execution. For genocide. Fucking hell.
Verily, Sir Fascist
Benito Mussolini was knighted in 1923. Then, obviously, he continued to be, you know, Benito Mussolini, history’s most famous fascist, and had his knighthood revoked after declaring war on the U.K., which seems fair enough.
Lackaday, Sir Financial Meltdown
Scottish banker Fred Goodwin was knighted in 2004 for services to the banking industry. Four years later he was enormously instrumental in causing an enormous recession, costing the country billions while personally becoming even richer. He sucks big ass.
Zounds, Sir Octogenerian-Molester
George Castledine was the third ever male nurse to be knighted. However, four years after his knighthood he was fired for allegedly having an improper sexual relationship with an 85-year-old patient, which also led to his knighthood being revoked.
Egad, Sir Racist Shitheel
Sir Oswald Mosley founded the British Union of Fascists, got married in Goebbels’ house with Hitler as guest of honor and kick-started Holocaust denial. This guy was a real jerk!
Fie, Sir Foreign Spy
Anthony Blunt was such a good art historian that he was knighted for it. However, it later came out that he was also a spy, sneaking intelligence to the Soviet Union from the 1930s to 1950s.
Mayhaps, Sir Sweatshop
Philip Green is almost a billionaire, and has run pretty much every major British clothing store. Run them into the ground, that is! While dodging taxes, being #MeToo-ed and paying employees less than minimum wage. What a dick.
Geoffrey Boycott was a great cricketer but an asshole — he was convicted of domestic assault, and when charities objected to his 2019 knighting, said he “didn’t give a toss.” Charming.