Les Dawson 'was rejected for OBE' | Was comic snubbed over his private life?

Les Dawson 'was rejected for OBE'

Was comic snubbed over his private life?

Les Dawson was twice turned down for an OBE, newly discovered records have revealed.

It’s speculated that the twin snub was due to his headline-grabbing private life, which scuppered his chances despite being a favourite of Prince Philip, and a tireless charity fundraiser.

Cabinet Office files requested by The Mail on Sunday show that Dawson was recommended to receive the honour in the Birthday Honours of 1987 then again in the New Year Honours of 1989.

The newspaper reports that the records are partly redacted and do not explain why the suggestions were not taken up.

But in 1987, a year after losing his first wife Margaret to cancer, Dawson was in the tabloids for dating barmaid Tracy Roper - 17 years his junior and a married woman.

Tracy, whom Dawson later married, told The Mail on Sunday the comic knew nothing about being put forward for the honour ‘and there was no question of him ever having turned it down’. ‘I think he would have adored it,’ she added.

The Duke of Edinburgh was a fan of Dawson’s, and they shared a rapport from their very first meeting – when the comic was wearing odd shoes. The Prince pointed it out, and the comic replied: ‘Yes, and I’ve a pair just like these at home’. Philip and the Queen made it known they wanted him at Royal Variety Performances, and the Prince would always seek the comic out to share a joke afterwards.

Published: 28 Jun 2014

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