Queen Elizabeth strips entertainer Rolf Harris of honor over child sex conviction

Tue Mar 3, 2015 6:51pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth has stripped veteran entertainer Rolf Harris of an honor she bestowed on him in 2006, basing the move on his conviction for child sex crimes last year, an official notice on Tuesday revealed.

Harris, a household name in his native Australia and adopted home Britain, was jailed for almost six years in July last year for repeatedly abusing young girls over decades when he was a much loved host on children's television.

An announcement in the London Gazette, Britain's official newspaper of record, said the royal award given to Harris, who had painted the queen's portrait in 2005, had now been rescinded.

"The Queen has directed that the appointment of Rolf Harris to be a Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 17 June 2006, shall be canceled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order," the statement said.

Police and prosecutors said Harris, an artist and musician who first earned fame in the 1950s with the top 10 hit novelty song "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", had used his fame to abuse girls for years.

He was the most high-profile figure to have been convicted of crimes since British police launched a major inquiry into celebrity sex crimes, following revelations three years ago that late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile had been a prolific child abuser.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Entertainer Rolf Harris arrives for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in London July 4, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville