56% of the public say David Beckham should not receive a knighthood – the most deserving recipients are in charity, science and the military
This week it emerged that David Beckham may be awarded a knighthood after being nominated for the New Year Honours List. HM Revenue and Customs are reportedly carrying out standard checks on his £165 million fortune, “to see if there is anything they want to double check”, before final approval can be given later this month. But does he really rank with the likes of Sir Isaac Newton? And who should receive a knighthood, anyway?
56% of the British adults say David Beckham should not receive a knighthood. Only 30% think he should and 14% don’t know.
Until the 20th Century knighthoods were reserved for more traditional services than the arts and entertainment, but the knighting of celebrities like Elton John and Steven Spielberg brings the question: who really deserves the title?
The public are traditional, with 81% believing knighthoods should be given to those who have excelled in charity and humanitarian work; 80% saying they should go to those in science; and 73% thinking those with military success are entitled.
The areas of work more recently awarded knighthoods are seen as much less deserving by the public, with only 47% saying those excelling in sport should be given the title; 46% saying the same of art; 45% of music; and 38% of acting.
The results are consistent with earlier research conducted by YouGov into whether Andy Murray should have been awarded a knighthood. David Cameron said he could not “think of anyone who deserves one more”, after he became the first Brit to win Wimbledon for 36 years, however the majority (53%) said he should not receive one.