LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II stripped Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe of his ceremonial knighthood on Wednesday — a highly unusual move meant to show Britain's revulsion with the human rights abuses of his regime.

The queen acted on the advice of Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who said Mugabe should have the honor revoked because of widespread violence and intimidation of Zimbabwe's opposition ahead of a presidential runoff Friday.

Britain — the former colonial power in Zimbabwe — and the United States said they won't recognize the result because opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn, saying his supporters were at risk.

Mugabe was made an honorary knight in 1994, when he was considered an anti-colonial hero. Honorary knighthoods are conferred on people who are not British citizens but are recommended by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and approved by the queen.

The late Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu was stripped of his title in 1989 at the height of the Balkan nation's revolution.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Britain no longer recognizes Mugabe as Zimbabwe's legitimate leader.

"This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided," the Foreign Office said.