Last week the British media was full of the story of how the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Fred Goodwin, was to be stripped of his knighthood for having ‘brought the honours system into disrepute.’ He had been knighted in 2004 ‘for services to banking’ but a series of ill-judged acquisitions led to the collapse of the bank and, amid the chaos that followed, he was thought to have behaved insensitively and inappropriately with regard to his pension. Amid all the discussions about fairness, unfortunate comparisons were made with Anthony Blunt (discovered to have been a spy), Robert Mugabe and even Nicolas Ceaucescu, all of whom had also had their knighthoods stripped away but were surely in altogether different categories of wrongdoing. I’d have forgotten about this but on the long flight home a throwaway remark by ‘Taki’, read in the Spectator , got me curious. So whilst waiting at Heathrow I Googled honorary British knighthoods and discovered that quite a lot of stripping has gone on. Those stripped of their knighthoods include Franz Joseph I (awarded 1867, annulled 1915), Wilhelm II (awarded 1861, annulled 1915), and Benito Mussolini (awarded 1923, annulled 1940). Spot the pattern? Indeed, the strangest of the lot is Emperor Hirohito of Japan (picture), who was made a knight in 1921, saw his knighthood stripped away in 1941 and was made a knight again in 1971. I post this useless information in case anybody out there is making a political anoraks’ version of Trivial Pursuits.