It’s only fitting that the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen would be honored by the king.
Legendary guitarist Brain May will now be known as Sir Brian. On Tuesday, the founding member of Queen received Knighthood from King Charles III in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, per CNN.
May received the title of Knight Bachelor for his services to music and charity, reports the BBC.
Queen congratulated their guitarist in a Twitter post: “Arise Sir Brian May,” the band wrote. “Brian’s investiture as a Knight of The Realm took place today at Buckingham Palace. The knighthood was presented to Brian by His Royal Highness, King Charles. Many congratulations, Sir Brian!”
Arise Sir Brian May ⚔️🎸— Queen (@QueenWillRock) March 14, 2023
Brian's investiture as a Knight of The Realm took place today at Buckingham Palace. The knighthood was presented to Brian by His Royal Highness, King Charles.
Many congratulations, Sir Brian!
📸©️ Alamy pic.twitter.com/nE3ZmfvPSZ
May is not just a rock icon — he’s also an astrophysicist. In 2007, he received his PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London. May took a break from his studies in the ‘70s to focus on the band, per CNN.
He is also an advocate for animal rights and a critic of hunting. In 2010, he formed Save Me Trust, an organization which campaigns against fox hunting and badger culling.
May famously performed “God Save the Queen” from the palace roof during the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. Two decades later, he performed with Queen at Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Concert.
What does it take to get knighted?
Anyone can be nominated for knighthood or damehood as long as they meet the king’s criteria, according to Awards Intelligence. Knighthood and damehood can be given to an individual for all types of achievement. Typically, nominated persons have made a major contribution on a national or international level.
An award will be given if the nominee’s “work and achievements will be viewed as an inspiration to others; and they may have influenced their peers, industry or the nation through their sustained and outstanding commitment to their chosen area.”
Musicians with knighthood and damehood
Dozens of musicians have been honored by the British monarchy for their contributions to music, arts and public service. Here are a few of the musicians who have been knighted, per Billboard.
- The Beatles: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were both knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. George Harrison turned down the offer to receive knighthood, per Far Out Magazine.
- Elton John: The British pop icon was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on April 24, 1998.
- Mick Jagger: Rolling Stone’s frontman Mick Jagger became Sir Mick on Dec. 12, 2003. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
- Bono: The U2 frontman received honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II on March 29, 2007. His knighthood is considered honorary because he is an Irish citizen.
- Rod Stewart: Singer-songwriter Rod Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on Oct. 12, 2016.
- Van Morrison: Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison received the honor of knighthood on Feb. 4, 2016.
- Julie Andrews: The singer, actress and “Sound of Music” star was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on May 16, 2000, by Queen Elizabeth II.
- Eric Clapton: This rock and blues icon, guitarist and member of Cream, Yardbirds and other bands was knighted on Nov. 3, 2004.