Lennon Returns MBE
The 25th of November 1969 AD
The MBE that John Lennon had received at Buckingham Palace on October 26 1965 , when all of the Beatles were given the honour, was returned to the same place on November 25 1969. The act was a gesture of protest against events in Biafra and British support of the USA in Vietnam; and for good measure in his letters to the Queen and Prime Minister Harold Wilson detailing his reasons the Beatle mentioned it was also a protest against his record Cold Turkey slipping in the charts.
It was not in fact Lennon himself who delivered the medal to Buckingham Palace , but his chauffeur – how very rock and roll. It later emerged that Lennon hadn’t been keen on accepting the MBE in the first place, and it had taken persuasion from manager Brian Epstein to push him into it.
In 2009 the insignia was rediscovered, held in the Central Chancery. There is pressure for it to be used in one of the Beatles museums in Liverpool , perhaps the house that Lennon once shared with his aunt Mimi, Mendips in Menlove Avenue Woolton which is now managed by the National Trust . As she controls Lennon’s estate it seems only Yoko Ono has the authority to decide on its destiny.
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