Steven Spielberg to receive honorary knighthood
January 1, 2001 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Steven Spielberg to receive honorary knighthood One of the first signs that either each year is stranger or more of the same as the previous: Steven Spielberg will receive the Insignia of a Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at a ceremony at the British Embassy on the evening of 29th January 2001. Americans admitted to membership of British Orders of Chivalry do not style themselves "Sir". He can, however, place the letters KBE after his name. Found at badassmofo.
posted by riley370 (5 comments total)
In related news, Sir Anthony Hopkins became an American Citizen earlier this year -- excuse me, last year (it's Jan. 1 already?). Many British tabloids criticized him over that, but apparently, the UK decided to allow him to still use his title.
posted by Potsy at 4:04 PM on January 1, 2001

Knighthoods and others on the semi-annual honours lists are nominated by various commissions and ministries based on their purview, e.g. the ministry/whatever of sport will nominate sports figures to receive honours. Foreigners like Spielberg would either be nominated by an arts organization or by the Foreign Ministry. Some hope to reform the honours system due to its perceived deterioration from one based on merit to one based on political connections. It all goes way back to Lloyd George, allegedly a period when honours could be outright purchased via bribery.

Supposedly John Major "opened up" the system so that more people of ostensibly lower class would be eligible, but it doesn't seem to have helped the perception any.

In any case, mere Knighthood, i.e. a KBE, is the most common and least important of the honours.
posted by dhartung at 5:19 PM on January 1, 2001

Potsy: it's not a question of the UK's "allowing" Sir Tony to use his title. Even though the US oath of citizenship has all the stuff about abjuring other nationalities, titles and whatnot, the UK doesn't recognise it as a renunciation of British citizenship. (After all, we assume, such an oath has got to have been made under duress...) The only way that it can be renounced is to make another oath in the presence of a British consul.

dhartung: Lloyd George simply plutocratised the honours system, meaning that the nouveaux riches could buy their peerages for a suitable donation. Given that he had tried for years to redress the party imbalance in the Lords by having Liberal peers created, that seems fair enough to me. (And without such munificence, Jamie Lee Curtis wouldn't be a Baroness.)

(And you're a little mistaken about the relative "worth" of a KBE, since that order goes all the way down to mere Members. There are also other classes of knighthood: Brits are usually made Knights Batchelor, rather than receiving the KBE.)
posted by holgate at 3:07 AM on January 2, 2001

Oh I dunno. Seems to me Anthony Hopkins finally becoming an American citizen is just another example of The All That Is in the universe trying to correct blatant distortions and aberrations in the space-time continuum. I mean a man of Hopkins incredible talent has always been American. It just took awhile for reality to accept that.

Now if the same would just happen with Sean Connery... *ducking*
posted by ZachsMind at 3:50 AM on January 2, 2001

Other recent American recipients of honorary British knighthoods include former Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan, Secretary of State designate Colin Powell, General Norman Schwartzkopf, Caspar Weinberger, Bob Hope, and Andre Previn.

No offense to any of those guys, but that list sort of degrades the impressiveness of the thing, too...
posted by baylink at 3:33 PM on January 2, 2001

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