The Beatles (L) all received MBE medals in October 1965 from Queen Elizabeth (R). 

The Beatles (L) all received MBE medals in October 1965 from Queen Elizabeth (R). 


John Lennon raised eyebrows when he returned his Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal to the Queen of England back in 1965. Now, thanks to a British man's attic clean, we’re finally getting the full story. 

Lennon, along with the rest of the Beatles, received the medal in October 1965 for outstanding work in the arts, but returned the award for numerous political reasons. He explained his issues in a letter: 

Your Majesty, I am returning this 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. 

The musician signed off as "John Lennon of Bag," in reference to the "Bagism" peace movement started by Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono in the late 60s. 

Amazingly, the letter was just discovered in an attic 51 years (to the day) after the Beatles received the award, hidden in the sleeve of a record purchased for £10 at a yard sale.

Experts have some interesting theories about the creation of the letter, or, possibly, draft. "You can quite clearly see that the signature in this letter has been smudged,” memorabilia expert Darren Julien explains. “My theory is that John Lennon never sent this draft because of the smeared ink. If you're writing to the Queen, you want the letter to look pretty perfect, you don't want the ink to be smudged. This suggests that he wrote a second version of the letter, which was the one that was actually sent to The Queen." The letter, pictured below, is now valued at £60,000, according to auctioneers.