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Queen’s ‘simmering resentment’ about Tony Blair exposed before controversial knighthood

Tony Blair: Mother of dead soldier slams knighthood

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One million people have now signed a petition to have Sir Tony Blair stripped of his knighthood. The former Prime Minister was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter last week by the Queen. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system. However, at the time of writing, 1,005,596 people have put their weight behind a bid to have this rescinded.

The petition claims the former Labour Prime Minister “caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society”.

It also accuses him of being personally responsible for the death of “countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts”.

The petition writers have called for him to be held accountable for alleged war crimes, adding that he is the “least deserving person of any public honour”.

Every former Prime Minister before Mr Blair has received the Order of the Garter or Thistle.

A report in the Sunday Times in 2020 claimed the Queen’s alleged dislike of Mr Blair had resulted in “bedlocking” of other senior figures, notably her efforts to award Gordon Brown a knighthood.

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The Queen was reportedly reluctant to bestow the same gift on his predecessor.

The Daily Mail’s editor-at-large Richard Kay said there is “still simmering resentment” from the Queen about Mr Blair’s handling of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Royal aides, however, dismissed any idea that Her Majesty’s own personal feelings could influence who does and does not receive membership of the Orders.

A source told Mr Kay that such a suggestion is “absurd” and “suggests a pettiness that simply does not exist”.

They added: “It is absurd to suggest that there may be something churlish in the way honours are decided.”

Within months of Mr Blair becoming Prime Minister, Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car crash.

On the morning of her death, he gave a famous speech in which he called Diana the ‘People’s Princess’.

He is also reported to have urged the Queen to return to London from Balmoral. She had initially refused to return, instead wanting to shelter Prince William and Prince Harry from the limelight, and doing everything possible to support them when they needed her most.

As thousands of people flocked to The Mall to pay their respects, anger began to grow towards the Royal Family over their absence from London.

People also clamoured for the Queen to make an official statement about the tragedy, which she did not do for days.

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Mr Kay wrote that Diana’s death “tested the traditional etiquette that exists between the premier and monarch like no other before or since”.

He continued: “Dealing with his attempts to take control over the Royal Family’s response to the tragedy was one thing, but his later decision to publicise it all in his memoir was what really infuriated the royals.

“It wasn’t just that he trampled over protocol by disclosing so many private details, but that he also appeared to be grandstanding in his perceived role of saving the royals at their most perilous hour.”

Despite the ongoing uproar about Mr Blair’s knighthood, it seems unlikely that it will be rescinded.

The petition was not created on the parliamentary website, which gives petitions legal standings.

All petitions signed there by 10,000 people must receive a response from the Government, and those that reach 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate.

However, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson told The Guardian this week that the Prime Minister has no involvement in the handing out of these honours.

The spokesperson said: “Appointments to the Order of the Garter are a matter for Her Majesty the Queen, there is no involvement of the Prime Minister or Government, so it wouldn’t be one for me to comment on.”

However, the Royal Family’s website states: “Honours are decided and announced by the Cabinet Office twice a year: at New Year and on the Queen’s official birthday in June.

“They are then presented to recipients by members of the Royal Family throughout the year at ceremonies known as ‘Investitures’.”

Nominations for honours are divided into nine subject areas: the arts and media, health, the parliamentary and political service, education, science and technology, economy, community, voluntary and local services, sports and state.

They are assessed by committees of independent experts and senior civil servants.

Their assessments are then passed to a selection committee that produces the list, independently of the Government, that is submitted to the Queen through the Prime Minister.

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