LONDON — The omission of Bob Geldof, pop star turned famine fund-raiser, from Queen Elizabeth's New Year's Honors list angered politicians and Britain's popular press Tuesday.
To the surprise of many, Geldof, the inspirer of Live Aid and Band Aid who raised millions for African famine victims, did not figure in the list of honors bestowed by the queen on those citizens who gave distinguished public service during 1985.
"Maggie's Honors Snub for Geldof," headlined The Sun tabloid, blaming Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for not recommending Geldof for the prestigious medal.
The queen awards most of her honors on the recommendation of the leaders of the main political parties. The awards range from peerages and knighthoods to civil medals such as the Order of the British Empire. All are considered a mark of prestige but carry no financial value.
"I think it is very surprising," said David Steel, leader of the third-placed Liberal Party. "Most people would have expected him to be in the list because he has given most outstanding leadership and service in this last year."
However, government officials were quick to point out that Geldof is a citizen of Ireland and thus does not qualify for British royal honors in the normal course of events.
This did not satisfy Anthony Beaumont-Dark, a member of Parliament in Thatcher's Conservative Party. "It's what you come to expect from the honors list. The worthy are usually overlooked."
Beaumont-Dark said non-British honored by the queen in the past include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India. In addition, Americans Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Yehudi Menuhin, journalist Alistair Cooke and actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. all received honorary knighthoods.
Beaumont-Dark said he hoped a public clash between Geldof and Thatcher last February--in which Geldof insisted Britain was not doing enough to help the hungry--did not affect his chances.
"I don't think the prime minister is small enough just because he irritated her for him to be left off" the honors list, he said. "Those that do great deeds often have to be irritating."
But Geldof did get recognition from the British Broadcasting Corp. Domestic listeners to the BBC's Radio 4 channel and overseas listeners to its World Service both voted Geldof in separate polls their "Man of the Year."