Entertainment

Katharine Hamnett bins CBE and says she is ‘disgusted to be British’ over Gaza

The designer said the Prime Minister and Labour leader belong in the bin too.

Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett proudly holds her CBE award
Katharine Hamnett Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett proudly holds her CBE award (John Stillwell/PA)

Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has thrown her CBE in the bin as she said she is “disgusted to be British” over the war in Gaza and said Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer belong in there too.

The British activist, 76, best known for her statement slogan T-shirts, shared a video online in which she dumps her award into a wheelie bin, while wearing a top saying: “Disgusted To Be British.”

In the clip she emerges from her house and says to the camera: “I’m disgusted to be British for our role in genocide in Gaza.

“This is my CBE. It belongs in the dustbin, with Sunak and Starmer.”

She then opens the lid of the wheelie bin and throws the award inside.

She also urged viewers to visit theyworkforyou.com, adding: “Find your MP and tell them you will never vote for them again unless they support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.”

Hamnett was made Commander of the ­Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year’s honours list.

Hamnett is made a CBE by Queen Elizabeth
Investiture ceremony Hamnett is made a CBE by Queen Elizabeth (Lewis Whyld/PA)

She was made a CBE by the late Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace wearing a dramatic large red feathered hat that obscured much of her face.

When Queen Elizabeth died in 2022, she shared a photo from the ceremony on Instagram captioned: “Elizabeth the Great. RIP.”

Hamnett is no stranger to high profile political statements. In 1984 she was photographed with Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street wearing a T-shirt that read “58% don’t want Pershing” in protest against nuclear missiles.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with Katharine Hamnett
Fashion – London Fashion Week – Downing Street Reception Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with Katharine Hamnett (PA/PA)

She also sent models down the catwalk wearing T-shirts reading: “Stop War. Blair Out” in protest at the Iraq war when Tony Blair was prime minister.

Other famous T-shirts slogans include: Make Trade Fair, Save The Future and Women Against Wars.

Hamnett is the not the first famous face to relinquish their honour.

Hamnett’s autumn/winter 2003 collection
Hamnett London Fashion Hamnett’s autumn/winter 2003 collection (Yui Mok/PA)

Last year, The Good Wife actor Alan Cumming said he had returned his OBE after conversations about the role of the monarchy “opened his eyes” to the suffering of indigenous people around the world.

In 2020, Welsh star Michael Sheen revealed he gave back his OBE so he could call for the scrapping of the title Prince of Wales.

In 1969, Beatle John Lennon returned his MBE with a letter to the Queen saying it was “a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts”.

Journalist Jon Snow, comedian John Oliver and poet Benjamin Zephaniah are among those who have turned honours down.

According to the Cabinet Office, it is possible to renounce an honour, but a recipient still holds it until the King agrees to annul it.

As a result, placing a CBE in the bin is only a token gesture until formal action is taken by the monarch.

Latest Entertainment Videos