Celebs Who Turned Down Royal Invitations

Receiving an invitation to a fancy event is certainly exciting, and perhaps even more so if it comes from the royal family. Most of us will never be so lucky, but those who attend a royal function will likely have an unparalleled and one-of-a-kind experience — especially if it's a highly anticipated event like a wedding or King Charles' upcoming coronation. The opportunity to attend an affair that has great historical significance and garners worldwide attention doesn't happen often, which makes experiencing it in person all the more unique. Those who were present to witness the marriages of Prince William and Prince Harry not only breathed rarified air on those special occasions, but also have bragging rights for life. 

Celebrities are often high on the list of invitees when it comes to royal events, and many members of the royal family have maintained close relationships with famous friends over the years. Princess Diana was known to be tight with Sir Elton John, and Meghan Markle has several high-profile friends in her inner circle, including actress Priyanka Chopra and tennis great Venus Williams. While many royal besties would likely rearrange their schedules to attend an important royal gathering, there are also celebrities who have turned down such invitations — and some of their reasons might surprise you.

Adele and Ed Sheeran reportedly declined to perform at King Charles' coronation

"The King has suggested a number of people he would like to perform and Adele and Ed were on that list. He was very keen that they were part of the concert," is what an insider recently told The Daily Mail. Both of the superstars, however, have reportedly declined the opportunity to perform at King Charles' coronation on May 6, 2023. Sheeran, who is expected to perform in Texas that night, has an obvious conflict. But the reason for Adele's refusal isn't as clear, because the songstress is not scheduled to perform publicly after her Las Vegas residency concludes on March 25. 

King Charles' coronation will reportedly be scaled down from the type of fête his mother, Queen Elizabeth, received nearly seventy years ago. His guest list will include a mere 2,000 invitees (as opposed to the 8,300 who were present in 1953) and many of the time-consuming rituals will be omitted in order to shorten the ceremony from nearly four hours to just about an hour. Despite what has been dubbed as a "snub" by some royal watchers, viewers will undoubtedly enjoy top-tier entertainment. OK! reports that Harry Styles and The Spice Girls are rumored to be in talks to perform.

David Bowie rejected knighthood

Several British rock stars have been knighted, including Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, and Sir Mick Jagger. Knighthood, which is granted by the King or Queen of England (or a representative), is one of the highest honors that a citizen of the United Kingdom can receive. According to The Royal Collection Trust, knighthood was originally reserved for distinguished military service members. Nowadays, however, the title is commonly bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions in all areas of national life, including science, the arts, and industry. 

Though a highly coveted award, not all who are offered knighthood choose to accept it. Beloved rock star Davie Bowie, who died in 2016, is among the many luminaries who have declined the honor. A groundbreaker in many ways, Bowie not only passed on knighthood in 2003, but also refused confirmation as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE a few years prior in 2000 (per FarOut). "I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that," said the singer who added, "I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for."

Italian celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo turned down an invite to Buckingham Palace

Gino D'Acampo grew up in Italy, but only became a celebrity chef after moving to England (per Daily Mail). In the years since opening his first restaurant at the age of 21, he has published several cookbooks and appeared on numerous television shows, including popular British program "This Morning". 

As much as D'Acampo loves food, however, his own picky palate is to blame for refusing an invitation from Queen Elizabeth herself. "I was invited to the Palace for tea just before Covid, but a cucumber sandwich is my worst nightmare. I don't like tea either, so I phoned my agent and said, 'I'd love to meet her, but I don't like tea and cucumber sandwiches, and I can't do either of those things.'" He also cited having to wear a tie for the occasion as an additional deal breaker. 

This is amusing in light of the fact that D'Acampo, who shares three children with his wife, claims to be very strict when it comes to their eating habits. In what might be considered an example of "do as I say, not as I do," he shared (via Hello!), "My kids are not allowed to be fussy eaters. The problem with fussy children is their stupid parents. I run a family kitchen and in my house we don't have options. I never had options, why should they?" 

The Sussexes' Netflix series was snubbed by many celebrities

Harry and Meghan's announcement of a Netflix series focused on themselves set royal watchers around world abuzz in anticipation of an intimate and honest look at their life together. Free of palace-imposed constraints at last, the couple, who now calls California home, was expected to have A-listers participate, but ended up falling short as far as many viewers were concerned. Though the streaming service indicated that the couple's "friends and family " would be featured in the limited series about the Sussexes, viewers likely expected bigger names than the ones who were ultimately delivered. 

According to Daily Mail, some of the "friends" that were mentioned as possibilities were the Obamas, Elton John, and Oprah Winfrey, but none of them ended up making an appearance. Inclusion of "family" was a signal to many that Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie (with whom they are still on good terms) might be featured, but that didn't happen either. The outlet's sources said that the a-listers probably "snubbed" the Sussexes in a bid to stay out of the "family drama." 

Beloved British comedy duo French and Saunders declined damehood

Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French have had wildly successful careers in comedy, having created hit shows together like "French and Saunders" and "Absolutely Fabulous." The women, who both grew up in Royal Air Force families, met at the Central School of Speech and Drama (per The Guardian) and began writing and performing together. The talented twosome went on to create seven series together over the course of two decades. 

When referred to as a "national treasure," Saunders responded [that it] "sounds far too sensible to me. I'd much rather be a national nuisance." Regardless of how she characterizes herself, Queen Elizabeth sought to award her and French with OBEs (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2001. The pair refused on the grounds that "it made a mockery" of the honor (per Daily Mail). Having grown up in a military family, Saunders' father had received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) and felt unworthy of a similar honor. "He got it and he deserved it. He worked really hard and he was a brilliant man and he did an awful lot. But we just jumped up on stage, messed about, and made money," she said.

Priyanka Chopra appeared to snub Kate Middleton at Wimbledon

Priyanka Chopra's reaction (or lack thereof) to the arrival of Kate Middleton and Prince William at a Wimbledon match in 2021 did not go unnoticed by sharp-eyed observers of the spectacle. The video shows the royal couple taking their seats directly in front of tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King amid enthusiastic applause from the crowd, but not everyone present seems equally impressed. Chopra, seated directly behind the tennis legends, appears to go out of her way to not acknowledge the royal couple. Instead, she (seemingly) nonchalantly fiddles with her scarf and looks everywhere but in Will and Kate's direction.

There to watch the Women's Singles Final, onlookers interpreted Chopra's response to the future king and queen of England as a snub done in support of her bestie, Meghan Markle. According to Marie Claire, the women became friends at a magazine party in 2016 when Markle was on "Suits" and Chopra was starring in "Quantico." Chopra would attend Markle's marriage to Prince Harry in 2018 and the two have remained friends ever since. In an appreciation post for Markle's 40th birthday, Chopra revealed that she was taking part in her friend's 40X40 Initiative, designed to support women getting back into the workforce. In her caption, Chopra wrote, "Happy birthday, Meghan. For her 40th birthday this year, in true Meg fashion, she's chosen to put the welfare of others first." Now that's a loyal friend.

Madonna declined an invitation to Buckingham Palace

The year was 2007, and some of America's biggest stars (including Madonna) were living in England with their British spouses. Hoping to capitalize on their presence, Queen Elizabeth planned an event at Buckingham Palace aimed at celebrating the great relationship between the United States and Britain (per Express). Madonna, who was married to director Guy Ritchie at the time, lived with her husband in Queen's Gate Mews in Kensington, which is located just over two miles from Buckingham Palace.  

Unfortunately for the queen, the party would be decidedly less exciting because the Material Girl declined the invitation citing a previously scheduled engagement. Several other American stars would also beg off, leaving the queen with a guest list that was characterized as less than stellar. Madge's representative spoke on her behalf saying, "Madonna was invited but unfortunately had to decline because of a schedule conflict." She stipulated, however, that Madonna had written to the queen to thank her for the invitation. Hopefully, the monarch lived the rest of her life in fond remembrance of meeting Madonna in 2002 when she curtseyed upon their introduction at the London premiere of "Die Another Day."

Gwyneth Paltrow and then husband Chris Martin declined an invite to Buckingham Palace

Before "consciously uncoupling," Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and his then wife, Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, consciously snubbed the queen in 2005 when they were living in London. "We do live in the neighbourhood, but we didn't think we should go. As much as we like the Queen, I've still got years of rebellion in me," is how Chris Martin explained turning down Queen Elizabeth's invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace (per Irish Examiner). 

Despite snubbing the head of England's monarchy several years prior, Martin and Coldplay would go on to headline a 2016 event hosted by her grandson, Prince Harry. Before officially withdrawing from his royal duties with wife Meghan Markle in 2021, the prince held a benefit concert – a fund-raising and awareness event for Sub-Saharan African youths living with HIV/AIDS – at Kensington Palace (per Daily Mail). "You rocked the palace!" declared Harry after their performance.

George Michael recalls snubbing a young Prince William's invitation to perform with Elton John

Prior to his death in 2016, pop star George Michael had several occasions to hobnob with the royal family, largely due to the friendship that he had enjoyed with Princess Diana. According to Express, Michael claimed that he and the Princess of Wales clicked instantly, citing that, "She was very like a lot of women that have been attracted to me in my life because they see something non-threatening." 

The royal snub that had Michael feeling guilty, however, was not perpetrated against Di, but against her eldest son, Prince William, who was a youngster at the time. In his book "George Michael: A Life," author James Gavin wrote about the interaction that made the Wham! singer cringe for years following the incident. "The prince, then eight, approached him, [and asked] 'Would you sing a song and Uncle Elton play the piano?'" Michael declined (per Express), explaining Piers Morgan in 2011 that, "I can't believe I said no to the future king of England but I really was too embarrassed to sing in front of strangers." Michael would later make it up to Prince William when he recorded a version of Stevie Wonder's "You and I" as a wedding gift for him and Kate Middleton.