Sean Connery outrage: Bond stars knighthood DELAYED due to Scottish politics ‘snake pit
Dr. No: Sean Connery stars as James Bond in 1962
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Today, Sir Sean unleashes a barnstorming performance alongside Sir Michael Caine in the 1975 epic The Man Who Would Be King, which airs from 1:15pm on Film4. The adventure flick follows two former British Army soldier characters in 1880s India, and their attempts to establish themselves as rulers. While their initial attempts are fruitful, the pair’s journey is ultimately fraught with difficulties and ill-fated, leading to a fatal conclusion.
The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, and a Golden Globe, while a Guardian review in 2019 detailed how the film offered Sir Michael his greatest ever role.
While Sir Sean earned an Academy Award himself for his Best Supporting Actor turn in The Untouchables, it wasn’t in 2000 that he was offered the knighthood that many argued was long overdue.
Reports show that many close to the Edinburgh-born star believed his knighthood was in fact delayed because of his support for the Scottish National Party (SNP), and for his country of birth to achieve independence from the UK.
Throughout his life, Sir Sean was an ardent campaigner for Scottish independence, even financially backing the party.
His crusade in funding the SNP ended in 2001, when Parliament approved laws to ban overseas figures from funding political parties.
This was a year after the star was given the acclaim he’d twice been rejected for, by the Queen.
Sir Sean watched as his nominations for a knighthood in 1997 and 1998 were both rejected, reportedly vetoed by then-Secretary of State for Scotland, Labour’s Donald Dewar.
At the time, Sir Sean was reportedly giving the SNP around £4,800 a month, the BBC reported.
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Euan Ferguson, a Guardian film critic, wrote in 2004: “The late Nineties were a bad period: his [Connery’s] espousal of the SNP’s cause so angered Scottish Labour, whose tireless championing of devolution rather than full independence has at least resulted in this new Parliament, that his knighthood is widely believed to have been blocked.
“Connery was not happy, and it could be argued his feelings were justifiable.
“He was not only Scotland’s but Britain’s greatest ever star, and had done it all from one of the hardest starts in life, done it all himself.
“Yet was being refused the honour he felt he deserved because he had dared enter the snake-pit of Scots politics.”
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Sir Sean’s upbringing has been well documented, with his initial struggles routinely discussed when the Scot’s career is reviewed.
At the age of 16, Connery joined the Royal Navy and as he attempted to kickstart a career in acting, he supplemented his theatrical endeavours with body-building work among other jobs.
In 1967, Sir Sean, who was then already a world star as a result of his role as James Bond, wrote to the SNP’s George Leslie, voicing his support in the upcoming byelection.
He wrote: “I am convinced that with our resources and skills we are more than capable of building a prosperous, vigorous and modern self-governing Scotland in which we can all take pride and which will deserve the respect of other nations.”
After Sir Sean was eventually knighted, his personal website reflected on why it may have taken him so long to receive royal approval.
It noted: “Throughout his life, Sir Sean Connery has been an ardent supporter of Scotland.
“While it is generally accepted that his support of Scotland’s independence and the Scottish National Party delayed his knighthood for many years, his commitment to Scotland has never wavered.”
The biography section of his website added: “Politics in the United Kingdom has more intrigue than a James Bond plot.
“While Scotland is not yet independent, she does have a new Parliament.”
The Man Who Would Be King airs from 1:15pm on Film4.
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