Mar 14, 2023: Queen’s Brian May is Knighted

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Brian May, performing from the Buckingham Palace roof, at Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002

Queen guitarist Brian May was knighted on March 14, 2023, in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace presided over by King Charles. May’s honor was originally revealed on December 30, 2022, as part of the New Year’s Honours List, and represented the first opportunity for the new reigning monarch to honor U.K. subjects. Sir Brian May, who was 75 at the time, joined a short list of classic rock stars to receive the honor.

The Honours List citation recognized May thusly, “Musician, Astrophysicist and Animal Welfare Advocate. For services to Music and to Charity.” Following the ceremony, May said, “I am very happy, smiling from ear-to-ear, particularly because it was the King, which means a lot.”

The monarch doesn’t necessarily do the honors. For example, it was the former Prince Charles who presided over the ceremony for Barry Gibb in 2018. “We’ve had a certain amount of contact over the years and we’re of an age, so I have a strong feeling for him and it was a lovely moment,” said May.

“We discussed the fact that we are of an age and he was wondering if my knees were holding out for the kneeling part of the ceremony. I said: ‘Yes, just about’.”

Already carrying the title of Dr. as well as previously receiving a CBE, the Queen musician received the award of a Knighthood, adding the honorific title Sir to his name, hereafter to be recognized with the full title Sir Brian Harold May CBE. His wife of 22 years, Anita Dobson, may use the title of Lady May.

When the news was first revealed in Dec. 2022, Queen announced a statement from May. “I’m happy and grateful to receive this honour,” he wrote. “I will regard the knighthood not so much as a reward, but more as a charge – a commission – for me to continue to fight for justice – to be a voice for those who have no voice. I will endeavour to be worthy – to be that Knight in Shining Armour.”

Watch May perform from the Buckingham Palace rooftop in 2002

Other British music stars who have been knighted over the years include Paul McCartney, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, the Kinks’ Ray Davies, Ringo Starr and Barry Gibb.

May shared his appreciation to his fans in a clip he posted to YouTube. “I’m very thrilled and very touched by the love that’s come from you and the support. I will do my very best to be worthy.”

Related: When Brian May, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck met the Queen

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  1. Ger
    #1 Ger 15 March, 2023, 07:57

    And one of the first British musicians to be knighted was Cliff Richard

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