But still, it is a little bit shocking, these days, to stick one’s neck out to say something disparaging about the Queen or King of England and the royal family. We all know it happens! Here is a long list of famous people who snubbed the Crown, shared their thoughts with the rest of the world, or just forgot what to say when in front of a monarch.
Daniel Radcliffe is Honest
Daniel Radcliffe will forever be linked with the magic of Harry Potter. But despite playing one of the most celebrated characters England has ever produced, he is not a royalist. He says he is a fierce patriot but doesn’t see a use for the monarchy.
The actor thinks it represents what is wrong with the country--class division. As an exception, he feels bad for the way Meghan Merkle is treated in the press. As for Harry, however, Radcliffe has sharply criticized the prince’s rebellious years.
Katy Perry Pipes & Meghan Merkle’s Fashion
Katy Perry may be connected to the Crown as an ambassador to India in the Asian Trust children’s charity these days, but she took a serious dig at Meghan in her wedding gown. “Kate won, I’m sorry!” the pop star announced. She said, “I’m never not going to tell the truth.” Without batting an eye, she slammed Meghan’s dress as ill-fitted.
Perry thought one more fitting of the Duchess’ Givenchy gown would have dialed it in. To soften the blow, Perry commented about how she loves that Meghan Merkle is a proud feminist.
Who’s the Queeniest one of All?
On Queen Elizabeth II’s 91st birthday, Rihanna dished her majesty a hefty serving of royal dissing. The pop queen photoshopped her body onto the late Queen of England’s crowned face and head. Random images of the queen’s head propped upon the shoulders of the bad girl’s body popped up on the fashionista’s social media accounts.
Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter all featured the bizarre photos sans comment. It triggered lots of reactions, some of her peeps were quite affronted. No surprise, she has 109 million followers on Instagram, but regarding the images, Rihanna didn’t make a peep.
John Oliver Will Never Get Royal Honors
This was in response to what he said about members of the royal family on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The following year, John Oliver surprised Conan O’Brien on his podcast. He said he was offered an Order of the British Empire (OBE), but turned it down, “Why on Earth would I want that?”
The royal family, according to the British-born comedian, is “an emotionally stunted group of fundamentally flawed people doing a very silly pseudo job.” He says its biggest selling point, that it is solid and unchanging, is its problem. Meaning, the royal family will always “refuse to evolve.”
Amy Schumer Royal Baby
Not to be outdone by RiRi’s antics, Amy Schumer took to Instagram to parody the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move to step down from Birmingham Palace. Schumer posted that she and her hubby are stepping down from their royal duties in a caption of a beach photo of her and her husband Chris Fischer.
It all started because Schumer was pregnant at the exact same time as Meghan Markle. Their pregnancies were so close, the two actually gave birth within hours, prompting Amy to announce via Instagram that her “royal baby was born.”
Bond Girl Honor Blackman Refused Royal Honors
Honor Blackman also ribbed “Goldfinger” co-star Sean Connery for accepting a knighthood. Sir Connery lived in a tax haven and paid nothing to the country that honored him. Honor found him unprincipled. When it was her turn in 2002, she turned down a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), the British Empire’s chivalry award.
She refused it because, as a liberal, she did not support the royal family’s politics and felt it would be hypocritical. She was outspoken. The nicest words she spared for Margaret Thatcher was that she could have been a fabulous role model for women.
Russell Brand Reserves A Few Kind Words
But he’s generous with scathing criticism. Russell Brand's moniker of choice, “the lizard Illuminati royal family” sums it up. Which is to say, he thinks there is no point in having the symbolic institution at all. Brand grew up, like any average British kid, adoring the pomp and prestige of royalty.
Then, logic set in. On his show, “The Trews,” he points out that the English shovel forty million per year into the Crown, money needed by the common good. Brand thinks that privilege should not be a national symbol and that a royal baby should have the same chance as everyone else.
Benjamin Zephaniah's Problem
The poet shared a story about someone in his family who stood up to the monarchy only to have his hands cut off. So, when Benjamin Zephaniah was offered an Order of the British Empire (OBE), he politely declined.
The Rastafarian said he could not accept the prize because he is profoundly anti-empire. To him, as well as many others, the OBE’s legacy is colonialism. He’d rather abolish the monarchy.
Colin Firth Says He is Pro-Voting
He likes voting. That is what Colin Firth told Piers Morgan in 2011. It was a polite way to say that he is against unelected institutions like the British Monarchy. He does admit that the royal family is a boon for actors and actresses considering the many roles British royalty provides.
Firth points out Shakespeare would not exist without the Crown. He experienced this personally after winning an Oscar for “The King’s Speech.”
Fred Armisen and SNL Lampooned the Queen
A Saturday Night Live skit about Kate Middleton (Anne Hathaway) meeting the royal family features comedian Fred Armisen as the late Queen Elizabeth. His performance as the queen is unequivocally crass and ugly. As soon as Prince William leaves the room, the Queen and Prince Philip (Bill Hader) break out into a gangster cockney accent, intimidating a shaken soon-to-be duchess who was there to announce their engagement.
When the prince returns to the room, so do the proper accents of Queen Elizabeth and Philip.
Paul Weller Gives Another ‘Aye’
Comical. That is how musician Paul Weller put it when he was offered a CBE in 2006. He was visited by officials of the Palace and laughed them off. He thinks it’s ridiculous and absurd that the system still exists.
The Jam former lead man did not mince words. He said, “I don’t like the royal family, I don’t like the establishment, I don’t like the civil service,” in an interview with the BBC.
John Lennon Received an MBE
At first, as a young Beatle, it was amusing to collect a Member of the British Empire (MBE) honor. Later, John Lennon said he “began [being] ashamed of being British,” and gave it to his aunt who put it on her mantlepiece. But in 1969, he went back to his aunt’s house, collected his medal, and returned it to the late Queen Elizabeth by post.
He wrote a letter of protest citing war and colonialism. In jest, he added, he was protesting his song “Cold Turkey” slipping in the charts. No one is surprised that John Lennon rejected a token of the British Empire, only that he kept it so long.
Wendy Williams Disrespected Meghan Merkle
Wendy Williams has referred to the Duchess as a random princess, but she’s also called her an opportunist and a bit of a wild card. Williams outwardly dissed Merkle for coming to her show to get a job. She went so far as to say that Merkle was there, at the “Wendy” show, and they even have her DNA.
Later, Williams backpedaled saying she likes the royal couple. But before that, Wendy had actress AnnaLynne McCord on to complain that her man was unfaithful to her with Merkle.
Emilia Clarke Proves How Easy It Is to Break Royal Protocol
The “Game of Thrones” actress was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet Prince William. She felt somewhat confident meeting the future king, after all, as Daenerys Targaryen, she was not unfamiliar with proximity to the throne. She was expected to nail down a few lessons in royal etiquette before meeting him.
They told her she must address him as your “Royal Highness” the first time they meet, and as Prince William thereafter. Going to the Palace was more intimidating than she imagined. When it was time to greet him, she barely got out something like, “Ra-Ra.”
Footballer Howard Gayle Gave the MBE a Red Card
Howard Gayle played for Liverpool FC until 1994. He was the team’s first black player and so few people were surprised when he turned down the offer. His father came to the UK from Sierra Leone and so he knew the issues with colonialism personally. By the time he was awarded the MBE in 2016, he had served 20 years as an ambassador for SRTRC.
He turned it down immediately, saying he didn’t even have to think about it because his ancestors would be rolling in their graves.
Johnny Rotten’s Punk Anthem ‘God Save the Queen’
Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols has a real name, it’s John Lyndon. The 1970s ballad of rancor and rage about the Queen of England was a surprise radio hit from the scrappy little band’s album, “Never Mind the Bullocks.” Lyndon, who later led Public Image Limited, has maintained his anti-royalist views.
They’ve tempered somewhat, but he told NPR, as late as 2015, that if they are going to give him an OBE or an MBE or any of those, he’s going to say, “Nope.”
Spice Girl Geri Halliwell Patted Prince Charles’ Royal Behind
When the Spice Girls first met the former Prince, now king Charles at a gala for his Trust Charity in 1997, he got more than he bargained for. Both Mel B and Geri Halliwell broke protocol when they kissed him on the cheek. But Spice Girl Geri took it a giant leap further and touched his bottom. The scandal titillated, obviously. Just the PR the band wanted, really really wanted.
According to Showbiz CheatSheet, the former Prince, now king Charles treasured the moment. He sent a letter to Halliwell the day she retired and basically thanked her, in part, for the “wonderfully friendly greeting.”
Lord Altrincham Called the Queen of England a ‘Priggish Schoolgirl’
His scathing critique of the queen was published in the National Review. He was referring to her demeanor as a public speaker. Lord Altrincham complained Queen Elizabeth II’s speaking style was “synthetic” and that she was irreproachable as a leader. He argued, basically, that she should be more likable. It seemed like she got the message.
In response, she aired her first-ever televised address later that year. It was Christmas 1957, and a youthful queen presented herself affably. Lord Altrincham, known as John Grigg after relinquishing his title in 1963, is portrayed in “The Crown.”
Thomas Jefferson is the Original Anti-Royalist
Thomas Jefferson remains one of the sole persons who dissed British royalty most completely. He hated the royals and their government. Set to live free in the colonies, he went on and on about King George’s tyranny and how the British parliament had zero authority over his far-flung land of the New World.
Jefferson, more than anyone, drove King George III to defeat in madness and freed colonists by penning The Constitution.
John Cleese Could Have Been a Baron
The “Monty Python” actor also declined a CBE in 1996. The legendary entertainer said he turned down the royal honor because it is silly. That wasn’t the only honor the ruling elite offered. In 1999, he was offered a peerage position which would have made him a baron.
Alas, the comedian said that being forced to live in England during the winter was “too much of a price to pay.”
Ken Loach is a Citizen Not a Subject
Highly respected British director Ken Loach has said that the royal family represents an undemocratic system. He described the British monarchy as absurd and anachronistic, and he sees no place in society for it. This was in 2002, but it was no surprise he turned down an OBE in 1977.
The two-time Palme d’Or winner said it was a club he did not want to join, seeing the villains who are in it.
Allison Janney Broke Protocol Meeting Kate Middleton
Leaving the 2018 BAFTAs, and pouring out of London’s Royal Albert Hall on foot, Allison Janney unexpectedly met the former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now Prince and Princess of Wales. Janney, barefoot after a long night of sore feet, heels in hand, was chatting with Kate Middleton. At one point the BAFTA and Oscar-winning actress called the royal “honey.”
She did not apologize for traversing royal etiquette. Janney veered even further from the protocol as she suggested Middleton, pregnant with her third, ought to ditch her high heels too, adding, especially since she was pregnant at the time. It was a very awkward moment.
Katie Hopkins Has Nothing Nice to Say
She called Meghan Markle a hypocrite and ridiculed her for wearing “bad clothes.” Conservative media personality Katie Hopkins ripped into Meghan’s Prince as well. She mused bitterly that her dead mother-in-law is more interesting than Prince Harry, lamenting the days when he was fun.
Hopkins went so far as to insist the Duchess abdicate her title, but also demanded the Duke and Duchess have their titles stripped from them. The outspoken former reality star also laughed Markle off as “a budget Princess Di.” She’s spared no kind words, but it’s no wonder as she calls herself the “biggest b---- in Britain.”
Danny Boyle Prefers Democracy
The “Slumdog Millionaire” director was invited to the Palace to be honored with a knighthood, but he deferred the chance saying that it just was not for him. In fact, he would rather see the monarchy abolished and predicts it will be within his lifetime.
The Oscar-winning director thinks the queen or king should be replaced by a president. And, as far as knighthood goes, he says that he prefers being equal as a citizen rather than being a favored subject.
Paul Burrell Has Something to Say
Paul Burrell, the butler of the late Princess Diana, is displeased about the direction of Diana’s son Prince Harry. He is also disappointed in Meghan Markle. Princess Di’s former confidant, the only man she trusted, according to him, said it was scandalous the way Prince Harry and the Duchess revealed everything to Oprah Winfrey in that March 7th interview.
He said the couple may think they have found freedom, but really, he says, they will never escape the one thing that makes them interesting—that they are royals.
Tracey Ullman Likes the First Amendment
She even became a U.S. citizen in 2009. But not all Brits agree with her. In fact, one Member of Parliament suggested the comedian should be sent to the Tower of London for treason for being outspoken about royals. Before she was on “The Daily Show,” Ullman was known for her poignant impersonations of royal family members, especially of Camilla, Princess Margaret, and the late Queen Elizabeth II on “The Tracey Ullman Show.”
That is the show, incidentally, that created a spin-off that became world-famous, “The Simpsons.”
Lewis Hamilton Got Schooled by the Queen
Seven-time world champion racecar driver Lewis Hamilton was honored with a lunch at the Palace. The F1 racer was seated next to the Queen. He met her a year earlier when he was awarded an MBE. Lewis was lucky enough to be seated next to Her Majesty and was excited to talk with her but received a royal upbraiding when he did.
He broke protocol by trying to speak to the Queen before she addressed him. But then she outwardly informed him of another infraction, letting him know he spoke to her out of line.
David Bowie Sair No to a CBE in 2000 and in 2003
A Commander of the British Empire is the highest honor a subject can be awarded besides knighthood. Other rock musicians that have been knighted are Elton John, Bono, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, and Mick Jagger who all took the title, Sir. Not David Bowie. The Queen proposed a CBE in 2000 and a knighthood in 2003.
He turned both down. Bowie didn’t have much to say except that the awards were not for him. “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that.” He also pointed out that the royal honors are not what he has worked for all his life.
Morrissey Has Been Condemning the Royal Family for Decades
We first heard his biting satire in The Smiths’ song, “The Queen is Dead” in which he mockingly sings of Charles’ fantasies. The song imagines the royal wanting to dress in his mother’s bridal veil on the cover of the Daily Mail. The Smiths frontman has been equating the royal family with “human greed and arrogance” steadfastly.
He’s ripped Harry, refers to the royals as the “Boil family,” calls the UK press insufferable, and says monarchy is an unequal social system.
Johnny Marr is Just as Unapologetic
The man responsible for the sound behind The Smiths is anti-monarchy. When asked if he would accept Queen Elizabeth’s annual birthday honors, guitarist Johnny Marr said “No,” emphatically, preceding it with the requisite four-letter-favorite word of rockers.
He made fun of the queen for her sour face and points out she was no Dalai Lama. But he gave Meghan Markle a pass.
Piers Morgan Hates Meghan Markle
Seriously, he hates her, it’s personal. She ghosted him after one date. Because, what happened is, she met Prince Harry the very next week. Since then, Piers Morgan hasn’t passed up a moment to insult her on his show and on social media. He called her all kinds of epithets; disgraceful, B-list actress, backstabbing, money-grabbing, and worse.
He left his show “Good Morning Britain” when guest Alex Beresford called him out about a personal relationship with Markle, announcing that she cut him off completely. At that point, Morgan walked off the stage of his own show and never returned.
Noel Gallagher Ripped into Harry and Meghan
The former Oasis rocker unleashed a tirade of vitriol on Harry shortly after the interview. He told The Sun that the wayward prince is an expletive “woke snowflake” and more. He blamed it on Meghan saying that’s what happens when you deal with Americans.
The Sun printed a full-page cover of his quote, “Harry’s an Effin’ Woke Snowflake!” The Oasis singer loved it. He said he’s going to get it framed.
Robbie Williams Won’t Be Invited Back to St. George’s Chapel
The British press pounces on celebrity royal protocol faux pas. This time it was Robbie Williams, judge of the “X Factor” who was caught smacking away at his chewing gum during a royal wedding. Not only that, but his wife attended dressed in white, with a veil, strangely.
After Princess Eugenie and Jack’s wedding, the Twitterverse was triggered with shock and awe at Williams’ gum-chomping behavior, even Cara Delevingne piped up.
Meghan McCain Opines about the Royals on ‘The View’
Meghan McCain is an American, but she is still outwardly opposed to monarchies. She called them “stupid.” The co-host then boasted about her red-blooded patriotism, which she described as being 100%, and the reason she can’t defend the British Monarchy.
According to FOX News, she has said, “I would literally rather eat a muddy tire” than follow Charles and Camilla. She also claimed that the royal family is no longer relevant.
Rupert Murdoch is Responsible for a Lot of Royal Bashing
Rupert Murdoch’s foray into media commenced with “The Sun” in 1969. The Australian purchased the tabloid to rip into the British monarchy and he spent the bulk of his career taking swipes at the ruling elite in the UK. His grudge of royal hierarchies set in as a student at Oxford.
Murdoch, more than anyone, has been actively dissing royals and will presumably continue to, as long as his influence in the tabloid media world lasts.
Laurence Fox Does Not Like Sussex
The actor who became a mayoral candidate thinks titles should be stripped from, what he calls the “greedy, hypocritical, freeloading, narcissistic brats.” His Twitter post also complained “the woke duchess” has “smeared the whole royal family.” He is a self-named firebrand against the “virus of wokery” and thinks Markle has falsely accused the royal family of being prejudiced.
Fox is a royalist, and he says the cancel culture movement is anti-British.
Jeremy Clarkson Defended Piers Morgan in an Op-Ed
The British journalist known for hosting BBC’s “Top Gear” also had very few kind words for the Duchess. He ridiculed her as a silly actress who he predicts will be “toast” within five years. He lamented that Piers Morgan will have lost his show that he walked off for nothing.
Clarkson had no sympathy for what Markle divulged, calling it her “brand of simpering victimhood” and accusing her of wanting to bring down the monarchy.
Ed Sheeran Grabbed Prince Charles’ Arm at MBE Awards
The “Shape of You” singer reached out to shake the prince’s (now king) hand but added the double handshake as a gesture of appreciation. This move, however, violated protocol. It is an example of how easy it is to offend members of the royal family. There are certain behaviors that are insulting and grabbing a royal’s arm is one of them.
Unlike those who have broken protocol in protest, Sheeran did it mistakenly.
Albert Finney Turned Down the Crown’s Highest Honors
Actor Albert Finney was first offered a CBE in 1980. The five-time Oscar-nominated film star endeared audiences as Tom Jones and went on to play an array of roles from Winston Churchill to Pope John Paul. He rejected the CBE in 1980 and then rejected a knighthood in 2000.
Finney declined the royal honors with the observation that certain people being called “Sir” is problematic in that it “perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery.” He said at the time that he thinks people should all be respectfully titled together.
Erin Foster Mocked Meghan Markle on Instagram
Reality show comedian Erin Foster has taken quite a few digs at the Duchess. She makes fun of her aspirations of fame. At one point, Foster posted a photo of Markle on “Deal or No Deal” with the caption “Never forget.” She went further and laughed that the briefcase Markle is holding in the image contains her ambitions for fame.
Celebrity satirist Foster took her first dig of Markle in 2017 when Prince Harry and she announced their engagement.
Jason Williamson Penned an Op-Ed in The Guardian
The post-punk musician took to the royal family to task in a scathing opinion piece. Jason Williams was not at all pleased about Harry and Meghan’s visit to his hometown of Nottingham. The Sleaford Mods lead man titled the tirade, “Nottingham doesn’t need you, Harry.” Williamson said there was no reason to announce their already “over-publicized” engagement in Nottingham.
He used the word, “heinously.” And complained of the millions it will cost the British. As for the royal family, he refers to them as “royal monsters” and “psychopaths,” whose sovereignty is enabled by British nostalgia.
Roald Dahl Snubbed the Crown
The masterful children’s author was offered an OBE in 1986. His response was in protest. He said he would not accept the Queen’s honor because he preferred knighthood. Do those manners seem knightly? Besides, multiple honors are common. He could have taken the OBE and received every order up to knighthood.
Some people think he was robbed of his honors by an untimely death. But in refusing knighthood, don’t we see a wink by Matilda and a chortle from Mr. Fox?
Donald Trump Left His Manners at Home
President Trump and First Lady Melania were invited to Windsor Castle to meet the late Queen of England and they showed up 15 minutes late. That was his first major swipe at royal protocol. A bow or a curtsey, or simply a nod of the head would have been proper behavior, but Trump took a handshake instead.
The most obvious dearth of manners, however, was his final blow. He turned his back on the queen. He walked in front of her and turned his back, leaving her in the dust. It is considered very rude.
C.S. Lewis Declined a CBE in 1951
In a disclosure of persons who refused royal honors, obtained by the BBC after a long wrangle with the Crown over freedom of information, 277 people were discovered to have taken a pass. Roald Dahl was one, and C.S. Lewis was another. He actually responded with a letter.
The Narnia author turned down the CBE with a missive to Winston Churchill, saying he doesn’t want to be aligned with an elitist association in deference to his readers.
LeBron James Did Not Get the Memo
The protocol is you do not touch a royal, you do not reach for their hand unless they do first, you do not speak to them until you are spoken to. NBA great LeBron James had apparently missed the memo because he put his arm around Kate Middleton. British tabloids pounced on the image immediately, excoriating American manners.
But the former Duchess of Cambridge, now Princess of Wales, and her royal hubby were not concerned, they were having a wonderful time hanging out with sports legends.
Megyn Kelly Reserves a Dose of Vitriol for Meghan Markle
Former FOX host Megyn Kelly ripped into the Duchess of Sussex after the Oprah interview. On Twitter, Kelly said she had never seen such privileged people as the Duke and Duchesses “wallowing” in their own “victimhood.”
She also complained on “Good Morning Britain” about Markle’s personality. Kelly left FOX to have her own morning show on NBC but was fired in 2018, a year later.
Kate Hawkesby (Another Celeb Who) Can’t Stand Meghan
Kate Hawkesby wrote that the Duchess of Sussex is opportunistic, she doesn’t trust her and says she is inauthentic. The radio commentator from New Zealand has had a long-running distrust of Markle and has been very outspoken about it. She admits she has “a THING about Meghan Markle.”
Kelly’s called the duchess a “B-grade” actress, judging her performance on “Suits.” Kate has a popular radio show, but she has nothing nice to say about Meghan.
Charlie Kirk Ripped into Prince Harry and the Duchess
On his podcast, Charlie Kirk characterized Harry as a “metrosexual beta male,” whatever that is supposed to mean. He said the prince lacks testosterone and the royal couple is destroying British tradition. Kirk was angry and said Markle is making things up when it comes to saying she felt prejudice living at the castle.
The founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA published these views on “The Charlie Kirk Show.”
Keshia Chanté Takes the Duke of Sussex to Task
In an interview, Prince Harry said he doesn’t understand the First Amendment, and then said it is “bonkers.” Entertainment Tonight Canada host Keshia Chanté tore into the royal’s remark saying she thought he should not be commenting about the free speech amendment, especially after living in the States for just six months.
The conversation between Chanté and Graeme O’Neil was aired on “ET Canada Live” in May of 2021, the week that Harry’s commentary was aired.