These Famous Celebrities Can’t Stand the Royal Family

In The Cheat Sheet’s coverage of the British royal family, we sometimes focus on their famous friends. Take Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, for example. Perhaps the one thing royal watchers were the most interested in was which of the duo’s celebrity buddies would be in attendance.

But not every celebrity is so keen on the royals.

In fact, there’s a whole slew of famous faces that have opposed the monarchy over the decades. Here’s a look at just a few of them. (Check out which well-known actor still hasn’t forgiven Prince Harry for dressing as a Nazi in 2005.)

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

History of famous figures who openly opposed the monarchy

Through Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, there have been many famous actors, musicians, and writers who have openly shown their displeasure with the monarchy. (Heck, the Sex Pistols based their legacy off their hate for the crown.)

There’s even a history of public figures turning down the opportunity to be honored or knighted because they don’t agree with the monarchy’s decisions or because it would counter their own worldviews. Painter L.S. Lowry turned down five different honors because he didn’t agree with the way the queen was running things. Actress Honor Blackman of James Bond fame declined the chance to become a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) because accepting it would have gone against her political beliefs. Legendary rockstar David Bowie declined two opportunities to be knighted, saying he didn’t “know what it was for”.

Of course one of the most famous rejections of the royal family came from John Lennon, who was honored by the queen but then returned the honor because he opposed of the monarchy’s stance on the Vietnam War.

Colin Firth in The King's Speech

Colin Firth in ‘The King’s Speech’ | See-Saw Films

Current celebrities who oppose the royal family

Perhaps one of the most surprising names on our list of celebrities who don’t like the royal family is Colin Firth. The actor won an Academy Award for his portrayal of King George in The King’s Speech. But outside of the role, Firth has little love for the established royal family and told Piers Morgan he has a problem with monarchism in general.

Stephen Hawking turned down being knighted in the late 90s, but it wasn’t for political reasons. The late theoretical physicist later explained he was appalled by how the British government mismanaged funds for the sciences and was generally not fond of big titles. (Although he was already part of the Order of the Companion of Honour and had received a CBE.)

Perhaps one of the most interesting figures to clap back at the monarchy is Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. Boyle was complimentary of the queen when he worked with her while directing the 2012 London Olympics theatrics. But he later revealed he thinks the monarch should be replaced by an elected official and that — drumroll, please — J.K. Rowling would be the best fit for that job.

Speaking of Harry Potter …

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe | Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

While Rowling herself has been honored by the queen, one actor who helped bring the Harry Potter novels to the silver screen is staunchly opposed to the monarchy.

Daniel Radcliffe may be one of the most recognizable faces out of the U.K. for over a decade, but he has been vocal on numerous occasions that he’s in no way a royalist. “I am definitely a republican in the British sense of the word,” he told The Daily Beast back in 2009. “I just don’t see the use of the monarchy though I’m a fierce patriot. I’m proud proud proud of being English, but I think the monarchy symbolizes a lot of what was wrong with the country.”

Radcliffe also made it very clear in that interview he was unimpressed with Prince Harry’s bad boy shenanigans. He was particularly critical of when Harry dressed as a Nazi for a dinner party in 2005. Perhaps it’s not surprising Radcliffe made it known he had no intention of watching the royal wedding either.

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