Disgraced stars stripped of honours – Harvey Weinstein, Jimmy Savile, Robert Mugabe

Harvey Weinstein and Rolf Harris lost their honours following sex abuse claims, while Robert Mugabe was stripped over his regime’s reign of terror and Prince Naseem was punished for dangerous driving

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For a lucky few, receiving a Queen's honour is the privilege of a lifetime – but there is no guarantee it will last that long.

Over the years, disgraced entertainers, sportsmen and politicians have seen their titles hastily taken away after horrendous public scandals.

And alongside shamed British stars like Jimmy Savile, there have also been some surprising figures honoured abroad – with dictators like Robert Mugabe and Benito Mussolini given honorary titles.

Here are the famous faces who fell from grace and paid the price.

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein was once one of the world's biggest movie producers – and received an honorary CBE in 2004 for services to the British film industry.

However, the mogul was hit by claims of widespread sexual abuse that rocked Hollywood in 2017, as more than 100 women – including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman – spoke out.

Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court in February 2020
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping actress Jessica Mann in 2013.

Last year, an announcement published in The Gazette, the UK's official public record, confirmed his CBE had been withdrawn.

It read: "The Queen has directed that the appointment of Harvey Weinstein to be an Honorary Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 29 January 2004, shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order."

When he received the honour, Weinstein said: "My life and my career have been greatly influenced and enriched by great British film-makers and authors and so I am especially honoured and humbled to be receiving the CBE."

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Robert Mugabe

Dictator Robert Mugabe was given an honorary knighthood in 1994 for his role in building close ties between the UK and Zimbabwe.

He was once considered by many to be an independence hero, but over the years, his tyrannical leadership drew international condemnation for suppressing democracy and slaughtering opposition figures.

Robert Mugabe died aged 95 in 2019
(Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The award was removed in 2008 days before the end of a bloody presidential run-off, which saw opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdraw from the vote due to fears for his life.

Many of the politician's supporters were attacked and killed by police and soldiers during the contest.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided."

Mugabe died aged 95 in 2019, two years after being ousted in a military coup in 2017 following 37 years in power.

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Jimmy Savile

DJ Jimmy Saville is feared to have raped 34 women and girls, and sexually assaulted up to 450 people.

He was awarded an OBE and knighthood in 1990 after raising £40million for charity.

Jimmy Savile's sick crimes led for calls to remove his title posthumously

The revelations that followed his death in 2011 sparked campaigns for him to be stripped of his titles, leading to confusion about whether it was technically possible.

"It's a living order and then you cease to be a member when you die," a Cabinet Office spokesman said. "There isn't an honour to revoke."

The Honours Forfeiture Committee later said they would later consider introducing a procedure for posthumous cases due to the severity of Savile's crimes.

Sickeningly, in an interview with the Independent on Sunday, the brazen paedophile said of receiving the award: "It was a ginormous relief when I got the knighthood, because it got me off the hook."

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Prince Naseem

The former world boxing champion "Prince" Naseem Hamed was stripped of his MBE in 2007 following his 15-month prison sentence for dangerous driving.

Hamed was convicted after the McLaren Mercedes sports car he was driving at 90mph smashed into another vehicle.

Prince Naseem Hamed looks on from the ringside at The O2 Arena in September 2016
(Image: Getty Images)

Anthony Burgin, the driver of the other vehicle, broke every major bone in his body and suffered injuries to his brain. Rescuers said his body was "like soup".

Hamed, described as driving like a "maniac", fled the scene as Burgin and his wife, Claire, lay trapped in the wreckage.

He was arrested near his home as he tried to escape in another sports car, before serving just 16 weeks of his 15-month sentence.

Rolf Harris

Shamed entertainer Rolf Harris was stripped of his CBE after being jailed for 12 indecent assaults on four girls.

Officials reviewed whether Harris, 84, should have the honour removed following his conviction in 2014 for sexually assaulting girls as young as eight.

Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in May 2017
(Image: Getty Images)

Harris got his CBE in 2006, a year after he painted The Queen’s 80th birthday portrait. He had previously been awarded the MBE and OBE.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who campaigned for the move, said: “The extent to which the British establishment has harboured sex offenders has become disturbingly clear.

“These people hid under the cloak of respectability conferred by their honours and titles.

“It is vital that people like Rolf Harris are stripped of these honours and that the honours system is not brought into disrepute."

In a grim twist, Danczuk himself later resigned from the Labour Party for sending lewd sex texts to a 17-year-old student.

Lester Piggott

Lester Piggott is one of the most successful jockeys in the history of horse racing – but lost his OBE in 1987 after being jailed for tax fraud.

Known as the Longfellow because of his 5ft 8in frame, the sports star won two 1000 Guineas, five 2000 Guineas and nine Epsom Derbies.

Lester Piggott lost his OBE in 1987 after being jailed for tax fraud
(Image: Getty Images)

However, his career was set back when he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment after being found guilty of an alleged tax fraud of over £3million.

Last year, Piggott sold trophies and other prized mementos for £112,000 to fund his retirement.

Stuart Hall

Former It's A Knockout presenter Stuart Hall was jailed in 2013 after admitting 14 charges of indecent assault on girls aged between nine and 17.

Broadcaster Stuart Hall arrives at Preston Magistrates Court in January 2013
(Image: Getty Images)

The sickening charges saw him stripped of his OBE, which he received the previous year for services to charity and broadcasting.

Hall has kept a low profile in recent years, but in 2016 it was revealed the disgraced broadcaster – who used to live in £1million mansion – was living on a modest south Manchester estate.

Residents complained to the Manchester Evening News of their shock to discover the convicted paedophile, 91, was now their neighbour.

Benito Mussolini

Incredibly, the fascist leader Benito Mussolini was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1923, making him first Italian to receive the honour.

Dubbed Il Duce, meaning The Leader, Mussolini allied with Adolf Hitler’s Germany in the Second World War and was ­responsible for 400,000 deaths.

Benito Mussolini is one of the more unlikely recipients of a Queen's honour
(Image: Hulton Archive)

Italian partisans shot him in 1945 and hung his body upside down beside those of his mistress and other fascists in Milan.

It is unclear why he was given the honour, but it was withdrawn in 1940 after he sided with the Nazi war effort.

The remains were hidden until they were brought to the family crypt in his birthplace in 1957.

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