Queen’s Brian May Receives U.K. Knighthood

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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 has been knighted with the title Sir in the 2023 New Year’s Honours List. The news was revealed on December 30, 2022, and represents the first opportunity for the reigning monarch, King Charles, to honor U.K. subjects. May, who turned 75 on July 19, joins 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.”

Already carrying the title of Dr. as well as previously receiving a CBE, the Queen musician now receives 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.

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.”

The formal ceremony will take place later in 2023.

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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