Ringo Starr Knighted By Prince William

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In the 1960s, Richard “Ringo” Starkey won the hearts of millions, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that he won the right to be called “Sir Ringo.” Now 77-years-old, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was knighted by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, in a formal investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

How To Become A Sir Or Dame

Knighthood is one of several honors that may be bestowed upon UK nationals or residents of British Commonwealth realms to commemorate exceptional personal or artistic achievement, gallantry, military merit, or service to the Queen. Candidates for knighthood may be nominated by members of the public or by government officials.

Once nominated, candidates and their achievements are assessed by a number of independent experts before being approved by a selection committee who then submits a list of candidates via the prime minister to the Queen. When Her Majesty approves a candidate, a letter is sent to the nominee who then has the option to accept or decline the honorary title of Sir or Dame. If a nominee accepts, The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood at St James’s Palace then schedules an investiture ceremony where candidates are presented with their medals by the Queen or another member of the Royal Family.

Ringo’s first royal award

Ringo Starr’s prestigious new position as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire comes more than half a century after he and fellow Beatles Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison were named members of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1965. At the time of their appointment, Her Majesty approached Ringo and asked him if he was the one who founded the Beatles. Ringo’s reply was characteristically charming.

“No ma’am, I was the last to join… I’m the little fellow.”

Ringo Starr awarded knighthood in 2018
The Beatles, from left to right; Ringo Starr, John Lennon (1940 - 1980), Paul McCartney and George Harrison (1943 - 2001)Featured image credit: Hulton ArchiveGetty Images

Four years after the Beatles received their MBE awards, John Lennon returned his medal to Buckingham Palace with a note to the Queen explaining that he was rescinding the honor to protest England’s military involvement in Nigeria and royal support of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The note also stated the chart failure of the Plastic Ono Band’s latest single, “Cold Turkey,” as another reason for returning the prestigious medal.

Previously knighted rock stars

Beatles musical mastermind George Martin was granted knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 1996. One year later, on March 11, 1997, Paul McCartney became the first Beatle to be knighted. Other notable musicians who’ve been knighted include Bob Geldof, Ravi Shankar, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, and Ray Davies. In 2003, David Bowie declined the offer, says Ultimate Classic Rock magazine.

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When Ringo Starr was asked about the distinguished medal that came with his new knighthood, the Beatles drummer wryly quipped to BBC News that he plans to wear it at breakfast.