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Brian May Knighted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace
By Tina Benitez-Eves,
Nearly a year after Queen performed during the Platinum Jubilee at Buckingham Palace, celebrating the late Queen Elizabeth II‘s 70-year reign, Brian May has returned to the palace to receive his knighthood.
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May, 75, was knighted during a special ceremony on March 14 by King Charles III, who traditionally tapped May on the shoulder with a sword during the investiture. “No words,” wrote May on Instagram, along with a photo of himself smiling as King Charles laid the sword on his shoulder.
May was among 1,100 individuals included in the 2023 New Year Honours List revealed in December 2022. “Maybe a few more people will listen to me than would otherwise if it’s Sir Brian on the phone,” May joked upon making the list. “[There’s] a little bit more clout.”
The first Honours List issued by King Charles III following the death of Queen Elizabeth II cited May as “Dr. Brian Harold May CBE, Musician, Astrophysicist and animal welfare advocate for services to music and to charity.”
“I’m happy and grateful to receive this honor,” said May of the honor. “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 endeavor to be worthy, to be that knight in shining armor.”
Already carrying the title of Dr., May previously received a Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire (CBE) honor in 2005 and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to the music industry and for his charity work.”
Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) honor, while bassist John Deacon, who left the band in 1997, never received a similar honor. Late singer Freddie Mercury also never received an honor prior to his death in 1991.
In addition to his accomplishments in music, May is an advocate for animal rights and has opposed badger culling and fox hunting through his animal welfare group Save Me, which he established in 2010, and named after Queen’s 1980 song off The Game.
“I’ve felt for a long time that we had this false idea that humans are the only important species on the planet, and I don’t think an alien visitor would view it that way,” said May. “I think every species and every individual has the right to a decent life and a decent death. That’s kind of where I come from.”
Saxophonist YolanDa Brown also received her OBE from the King a day after performing at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 13.
May joins fellow musicians Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ringo Starr, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Rod Stewart, and Sir Tom Jones as a recipient of the prestigious honor.
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen