Billy Graham

Steve Jobs, KBE? It was not to be

March 1, 2011: 6:23 AM ET

Gordon Brown reportedly nixed a proposal to make Jobs an honorary knight

According to a report in the Telegraph, Steve Jobs was put forward for an honorary knighthood in 2009, but the proposal was blocked by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown because Jobs had declined an invitation to speak at the Labor Party's annual conference.

The Telegraph's source, an unnamed former senior member of Parliament, claims Apple (AAPL) was aware of the proposal, which reportedly reached the final stages of approval before it was rejected by Downing Street.

Honorary knighthoods are conferred by the Crown from time to time on citizens who don't have the British monarch as their head of state. Recipients can append the letters KBE (Knight of the British Empire) after their name, but not style themselves "Sir."

Previous American KBEs include Bill Gates, Billy Graham and Rudolph Giuliani.

NOTE: An earlier version of this item said Jobs would have been permitted to affix the letters OBE (Order of the British Empire) after his name. I am informed by readers who know more than I about such matters that the correct designation is KBE (Knight of the etc.). See the Wikipedia entry Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom for further detail.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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