Well, it’s about time! Ringo Starr, drummer for The Beatles, was knighted on Tuesday by Prince William, who did the honors in lieu of Queen Elizabeth.
Born Richard Starkey, Starr was knighted for his contributions to music spanning over 50 years. Along with his bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison (who sadly passed before being knighted), and Paul McCartney, Starr changed music forever as a member of one of the most iconic bands of our time.
Starr being knighted comes 21 years after McCartney received the same title 1997. He also joins the ranks of rock stars Elton John, Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey and Mick Jagger who have all been knighted.
Starr was so excited by the honor that he joked that he would wear the insignia “at breakfast.” His wife, actress Barbara Bach, was present at the ceremony, posing with him as he flashed his famous peace sign.
Since 1917, the British government has been awarding citizens who have made notable cultural or military contributions to society with the knighthood. Knighthood is otherwise known as membership to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Jane Goodall, Helen Mirren and Judi Dench are just a few other famous people who have been knighted.
But knighthood isn’t all that simple. The Order has five different ranks and out of them only two can call themselves “Sir” or “Dame.” Although McCartney is considered a “Sir,” he was actually knighted by the monarchy and not as part of an order of chivalry.
People who aren’t British citizens can be knighted, but they can’t add “Sir” or “Dame” to their names. They can, however, add the suffix “KBE,” which stands for Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Bill Gates, Bono, Steven Spielberg and even Michael Bloomberg are all KBEs.
Not everyone accepts the honor, however. John Cleese reportedly turned down the award as did David Bowie, who deemed the tradition a waste of time.
For those who do accept the invitation to be knighted, the perks include being able to wear the group’s badge, a cross hanging from a pink ribbon and the right to change your coat of arms. That’s one way to jazz up an outfit!
Congratulations to Sir Ringo Starr!