UK

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris stripped of CBE

Rolf Harris Image copyright PA
Image caption Harris was jailed for indecent assaults on four girls

Disgraced former entertainer Rolf Harris has been stripped of his CBE, according to an official announcement in the London Gazette.

Harris, 84, was jailed in July for five years and nine months for 12 indecent assaults on four girls aged from seven or eight to 19, between 1968 and 1986.

His victims included a young autograph hunter, two girls in their early teens and a friend of his daughter.

He has already lost a Bafta fellowship and accolades in his native Australia.

The announcement states: "The Queen has directed that the appointment of Rolf Harris to be a Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 17 June 2006, shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order."

Harris received his CBE from the Queen after he painted the monarch's portrait the previous year to mark her 80th birthday. He had previously been awarded an MBE and an OBE.

Royal honours are forfeited in circumstances where Buckingham Palace considers the system to have been brought into disrepute.

A recommendation is made by the Honours and Appointments Secretariat to the Forfeiture Committee. The decision must be approved by the Queen.

Harris had his Officer and Member of the Order of Australia honours removed last month.


People who had honours removed

Honours are usually only removed from people who have been convicted and jailed for a crime.

The forfeiture of a knighthood is rare and in past centuries could involve a public ceremony of degradation during which the accoutrements of the honour would be stripped from the culprit.

In 2012 Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, had his knighthood removed due to his role in the collapse of the bank.

There were calls for Jimmy Savile to be stripped of his knighthood in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual abuse but the Cabinet Office said the title ceased when people died.

Other people stripped of their titles or honours include:

  • Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was stripped of his honorary knighthood in 2008 over "human rights violations" and "disregard" for democracy, according to the Foreign office
  • In 1979 art historian Anthony Blunt, who was personal adviser to the Queen on art, lost his knighthood after being exposed as a Soviet spy
  • In 2007 boxer "Prince" Naseem Hamed was stripped of his MBE after serving a sentence for dangerous driving
  • Other recent cases of people having their honours taken away involved a CBE holder who was disqualified from being a company director and a man who forged the papers that secured him an MBE for "services to the community"

Appeals

Harris was found guilty of all 12 indecent assaults of which he was accused in his trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Last year, Attorney General Jeremy Wright decided not to refer his sentence to the Court of Appeal despite 150 complaints over its "leniency".

Mr Wright said he did not think judges would find it to be unduly lenient and increase it.

In October, Harris lost the first round of a legal challenge against his conviction.

The Metropolitan Police has said it has received "a number of allegations" about Harris since his conviction, which are being investigated.

Mr Justice Sweeney said upon sentencing that Harris took advantage of his celebrity status and had shown "no remorse".

In the wake of his conviction a mural of the former entertainer was painted over on a wall at the Sheffield Archives. Labour councillor Isobel Bowler said it was inappropriate to keep the artwork on show.

Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir in Wrexham stripped Harris of the title of honorary vice-president, which he had held since 2010, and removed photos of him from its website.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites