Who else has declined a knighthood? Among others:
David Bowie, musicianMeanwhile, also at the link: Winston Churchill declined a Dukedom, Neville Chamberlain declined an earldom, John Cleese declined a barony, and John Lennon returned his MBE "in 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."
Francis Crick, physicist and Nobel Prize winner
Michael Faraday, scientist
Albert Finney, actor
E. M. Forster, author and essayist
Michael Frayn, novelist and dramatist
John Galsworthy, playwright and novelist
Graham Greene, novelist
Stephen Hawking, scientist
David Hockney, CH, RA, artist
Aldous Huxley, author
Rudyard Kipling, author
Henry Moore, sculptor
J.B. Priestley, novelist and playwright
George Bernard Shaw, playwright and critic
Paul Scofield, actor
Ralph Vaughan Williams composer
H.G. Wells, writer
The United States is constitutionally forbidden to grant titles of nobility. How different would we be now if we'd been doing that sort of thing all these years?
Dignities and high sounding names have different effects on different beholders. The lustre of the Star and the title of My Lord, over-awe the superstitious vulgar, and forbid them to inquire into the character of the possessor: Nay more, they are, as it were, bewitched to admire in the great, the vices they would honestly condemn in themselves. This sacrifice of common sense is the certain badge which distinguishes slavery from freedom; for when men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.Said Thomas Paine.