Yoko Ono Says Ringo Starr’s Knighthood Is Long Overdue: Here’s Why John Lennon Will Never Be Knighted By Queen
Yoko Ono thinks it’s great news that Ringo Starr has been awarded a solo knighthood by Queen Elizabeth, and she also thinks it’s about time. John Lennon’s widow offered congratulations to Beatles drummer Ringo Starr after it was announced that he will be awarded a knighthood honor for his “services to music” and his charity work.
“I am very happy that you have received this honor from the Queen,” Yoko Ono wrote to Ringo Starr on Twitter.
“It’s about time! Huge congratulations. It is an honor for everyone in the Beatles’ family.”
Ringo Starr was previously knighted by the British government as a member of the Beatles back in 1965, according to Rolling Stone. Starr’s new solo knighthood comes 10 years after fellow Beatle Paul McCartney received his own solo knighthood in 1997.
While the two living former Beatles are now knights, it is hard to believe that John Lennon and George Harrison were never knighted—and never will be. John Lennon died in 1980 and George Harrison passed away in 2001. The UK’s current rules for knighthood state that a recipient must be alive to accept the honor from the Queen. John Lennon died before pop music stars began being knighted in 1995.
Even if a knighthood honor had been awarded to him, there’s a high chance that John Lennon likely would have rejected it anyway. When the Beatles were honored with an MBE (Member of the British Empire) medal in 1965, Lennon had to be talked into accepting it by the band’s manager Brian Epstein, according to Ultimate Classic Rock.
“We thought being offered the MBE was as funny as everyone else thought it was,” Lennon said at the time. “We all met and agreed it was daft… then it all just seemed part of the game we’d agreed to play.”
On Nov. 25, 1969, Lennon called a press conference to announce his plans to return his MBE to the Queen, saying he had become ashamed to be British due to his country’s involvement in global conflicts. John also revealed he had written the Queen a note with an explanation as to why he was returning the award four years after reluctantly accepting it.
“Your Majesty,” Lennon wrote.
“I am returning this in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon of Bag.”
Lennon’s explanation of “Cold Turkey slipping down the charts” referred to Lennon an Ono’s 1969 single ‘Cold Turkey,” and the “Bag” credit was in reference to the couple’s famous “bagism” peace campaign.
You can see a clip from John Lennon’s MBE press conference below.