Can foreigners get a knighthood?

Answered by Willian Lymon

Foreigners can indeed receive knighthoods in the United Kingdom. The UK government recognizes individuals from around the world who have made significant contributions in various fields, such as science, arts, business, and philanthropy, by awarding them with honorary knighthoods.

The practice of bestowing knighthoods upon foreigners has a long history and is seen as a way to acknowledge the positive impact they have made in their respective fields. These honours strengthen diplomatic ties and promote international relations by recognizing outstanding achievements on a global scale.

Foreign individuals who have been awarded knighthoods include musicians, actors, politicians, scientists, and even royalty. For example, Bob Geldof, the Irish musician and activist, was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1986 for his humanitarian work in organizing the Live Aid concerts. Similarly, the American actor and film director Steven Spielberg received an honorary knighthood in 2001 for his contributions to the film industry.

The process for nominating a foreign individual for a knighthood is similar to that for nominating a UK citizen. Any UK citizen can submit a nomination in the name of the person they believe is deserving of the honour. The nomination is then reviewed by the relevant authorities, such as the Honours and Appointments Secretariat, which assesses the individual’s achievements and impact.

It is worth noting that honorary knighthoods do not grant the foreign recipients the title of “Sir” or “Dame” as it would for a UK citizen. However, they are allowed to use the post-nominal letters associated with the honour. This distinction is important to avoid confusion and maintain the integrity of the UK’s honours system.

Honorary knighthoods are a way for the United Kingdom to recognize and express gratitude to individuals from other countries who have made a significant impact on society, culture, or the world at large. The honours system allows the UK to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of exceptional individuals, regardless of their nationality.

Foreigners can indeed receive knighthoods in the United Kingdom. Honorary knighthoods are bestowed upon individuals from around the world who have made substantial contributions in various fields. This practice strengthens international relations and recognizes the positive impact made by individuals on a global scale. The process of nomination and review is similar to that for UK citizens, although honorary knighthoods do not grant the recipient the title of “Sir” or “Dame.”