Artist News

Letter from John Lennon to The Queen discovered in carboot haul

By | Published on Monday 31 October 2016

John Lennon letter to The Queen

A letter written by John Lennon to the Queen listing reasons for returning his MBE has been found tucked into a record sleeve bought at a carboot sale. The reasons included then current events in Nigeria and Vietnam, and that week’s Top 40.

The letter reads: “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 [Plastic Ono Band’s] ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts”.

Lennon originally accepted his prize from the monarch in 1965 (along with the other Beatles), but returned it in 1969. The letter was found among a collection of second hand records bought for £10, and was valued last week at £60,000.

Music memorabilia expert Darren Julien told the BBC that it was an “incredible find”, though doesn’t think it’s the letter that was actually sent to The Queen.

“My theory is that John Lennon never sent this draft because of the smeared ink”, he said. “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”.

The content of the letter doesn’t seem massively respectful, so I’m not sure that theory about Lennon worrying about a smudge holds entirely true. Also, I did hear a while ago that Her Majesty was planning to sell off her vinyl collection at a carboot sale after she bought a Super Audio CD player.