Can Americans Be Knighted?

Can Americans Be Knighted

Dating back to 1917, the government of Great Britain has been giving some of its citizens the award of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The award got created to honor top-performing military and civilians during the time of war. Its scope was soon accommodated to include achievements during times of peace.

The order comes in five different ranks which include the Knight and Dame Grand Cross, Commander, Knight and Dame Commander, Member and Officer. If you are fortunate to get awarded as a Knight and Dame Grand Cross or Knight and Dame Commander, you gain access to Knighthood. This means you can add the prefix of Dame or sir to your name. If you are a member of the Order of the British Empire, it means that you can include the initials of your rank to your names. But, Can Americans be knighted? We will answer this and a few other questions in this piece.

Can Americans get knighted?

Yes, an American may get knighted by the Queen of England. When a person gets knighted, he has received a knighthood from the English Queen. He also begins to use the title of “sir” attached to his name. in British circles, knighthood is one of the highest ranks given to people who have contributed to the growth and development of society. Only men can receive the honor of getting knighted, women get a version known as “Dame”. A lot of people feel that since knighthood is often associated with the British, non-Brits can’t receive the honor. This is not the case. Several non-Brits have received the honor of getting knighted over time.

Which Americans Have Gotten Knighted By The British Empire

Over a couple of years, several prominent Americans who have accomplished great things have the honor of the Queen of England as knights. Examples of famous Americans who have received this honor include Bob Hope, Bill Gates, George Bush, and Colin Power. The only person who has the authority to issue the honor of knighthood is the Queen of England.

What Is The Condition For Non-Brits To Get Knighted?

The people who are not Brits can only get honorary Knighthood. This means that they are not permitted to use the word “Dame” or “Sir” with their names. But they may use suffixes such as “KBE” if they so wish. If anyone who gets the honorary knighthood becomes citizens of the British Empire at some point, they may get upgraded into the real knighthood.

Who Determines Who To Get A Knighthood?

The reigning monarch is the head of the order and as such has the responsibility of making all appointments. The monarch often gets recommendations and counsel from the Secretary of State of Defense. Membership of the order is available for different reasons which range from military to civil service and even charity work.

Can A Woman Get Knighted?

No. There is no known direct equal to the title of a knighthood because the women are often appointed to an order of chivalry. But women who get appointed to the Noblest Order of the Thistle or the Noblest Order of the Grater get the title of Lady. This is instead of Dame which is often used in place of the title Sir.

What Is The Reason For Awarding People With OBEs, MBEs, and CBEs?

Created by King George V during the First World War, it was to reward servicemen and civilians for their role in the war. It has not expanded to people who have made their marks in the field of charity, art, and education. Based on a report by the Cabinet Office, a CBE gets given for people who offer a prominent but lesser role on a national level. You may also get it for innovation in any area of life. The OBE gets given for any major local role in any field of humanity. This includes having a major role in effecting positive change on a national scale.

The MBE gets issued to people who have made outstanding service or achievements to the community. In summary, people may get honored for different reasons. This includes enhancing Britain’s reputation, making a difference to the community, innovation, and entrepreneurship, displaying moral courage, and changing things.

Is The CBE The Same Thing As Sir?

The CBE is the third-highest among the five ranks. Only the top two ranks can use the tile Dame or Sir. The second in the list of ranks is the DBE or KBE which means Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The highest rank in the order is the GBE and they are only given on rare occasions. For instance, only 16 of them have gotten awarded since the year 2000. People may still become a Dame or Sir even without receiving a GBE or KBE because they can get knighted. An example of this is Sir Elton John who has a CBE but is also a Knight Bachelor. Foreigners cannot become a Knight Bachelor even though they may get awarded an honorary KBE.

What Are The Benefits Of Getting An MBE, OBE or CBE?

Upon selection for this honor, you will get invited to an investiture ceremony at the palace. There the Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Charles or Prince William will award you with a medal of honor. This often happens some months after the announcement of the honors list. Recipients may begin using their new title as soon as the awards get announced. The members may also have some special materials attached to their coat of arms which show their membership.

Quick Fact About Knights

The first-ever medieval knights were professional cavalry warriors. Some of these knights acted as vassals who held lands. Knights came to be in Europe during the 9th century at a time when the central government was not too strong. Because of this, there wasn’t much protection from sea raiders, bandits, and neighboring lords. This caused a situation where each of the city, village or monastery requiring protection through the help of armed men. The most effective among warriors during this period were the armed cavalrymen.

The entrance of the stirrup in the 8th century meant that cavalrymen could now use weapons with a great degree of force. Certain equipment upgrades also ensured that the cavalrymen were more formidable. These servicemen soon became much sought after and it meant that Nobles were willing to give them lands. By the turn of the 11th century, the English started using the term Knight to stand for cavalrymen. Also, they were Knights in France, Caballero in Spain and Ritter in Germany.

By the 12th century saw the adoption of the longbow in England and the crossbow in other parts of Europe. These were both potent weapons capable of shooting missiles which could penetrate chain mail. These and other innovations became threats to the supremacy of knights. By the 13th century, the Knights started putting on plate armor along with chain mail. This and other innovations in armory soon saw Knights clothed in armor. This means that they were hopeless when they are on foot.

One notable success of knights occurred in 1346 during the Hundred Year’s War between the English and France. This war was a revelation in the use of Knights in warfare. During the war, the English infantry equipped with longbows defeated with ease a French army that was thrice its size.

The fate of the knights was almost sealed in the 14th century with the use of infantrymen who got armed with pikes. This group of people got trained to fight in close formations. The Swiss pikemen demonstrated their effectiveness during some battles in which they destroyed the cavalry forces sent to fight against them. The effectiveness of the infantry was further boosted by the shoulder-fired guns in the middle of the 15th century.

By the close of the 15th century, the place of knights in battle was soon replaced with professional infantrymen and armies.

What Are The Knight Orders?

There are different generations of knights. The first notable ones would be the Knights of St John of Jerusalem which was from 1113 to 1291. The second is the Knights Templars from 1120 to 1291. There is also the Teutonic Knight of 1191. Finally, we have the order of the Garter of 1341.


Having known that Americans can get knighted in an honorary capacity, it is important to point out a few things. Knights have come a long way in defining history, especially in wars and battles. Also, the concept of knighthood is one that has its reach to several places in Europe. It is only safe to assume that this is one concept that will continue to be relevant even in our modern society.

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