It could go on display...
Jason Gregory

09:24 6th January 2009

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The MBE medal that former Beatle John Lennon famously rejected has been found in a vault at St James' Palace.

All four Beatles were awarded the honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 1965 for their services to music. But Lennon returned his in 1969 in protest against the Vietnam war.

The medal was discovered in it original presentation case – which bears the name John Winston Lennon – alongside a personal letter from Lennon to the Queen.

In the letter, Lennon wrote: "Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a 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. With Love, John Lennon."

Beatles fans have called for the medal, which is thought to have lain untouched at the Chancery Department of the Royal Household for years, to go on public display.

There have been strong calls for the it to be sent to Lennon's childhood home in Woolton, which is now run by the National Trust.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace told the Telegraph newspaper: "John Lennon's MBE is being taken good care of and is in storage at the Central Chancery, St James' Palace.

"It has been retained since the day Mr Lennon returned it, but in order to decide whether the medal could go on display in a museum, we would have to establish ownership first.

"It could be up to Yoko Ono as she is the custodian of John Lennon's estate."

Lennon was killed on his doorstep in New York in 1980.

CLICK HERE to see Gigwise's guide to musicians who have rejected the Queen's honours.

You can see a selection of rare shots of John Lennon ,currently on display until March 2009 at the Beatles Story’s ‘The Many Faces of John Lennon’ exhibition, below.

John Lennon

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