2 JUNE 2001, Page 32

Gay knights

From Mr Sheridan Morley Sir: I seem unable to satisfy Alistair B. Cooke (Letters, 26 May). Briefly, then, the Palace's objection to knighting gays of any profession persisted well into the late 1950s, as can be checked by any survey of those who were and were not so honoured: a total lack of Rattigan, Coward, Beaton, etc. I have no especial interest in 'the cause of homosexual tolerance', though writing the biography of Sir John Gielgud naturally led me to research the territory. I am not now, nor ever have been, a gossip columnist; and as for Dirk Bogarde, his own memoirs may be reticent but they are far from accurate or truthful. Dirk is, however, for another author; my biography, of which he (albeit very grudgingly) approved, is now in paperback.

Privacy beyond the grave is not something Dirk ever allowed his own best friends in his memoirs, and I am doubtful whether such privacy is anyway of much use in posthumous biography. This correspondence can, I hope, now be closed, if only for the sake of other readers.

Sheridan Morley

London SW11