Legendary British guitarist Brian May was knighted on Tuesday by King Charles III in Buckingham Palace. The founding member of the rock band Queen was recognized for his "services to music and charity."
The musician described the ceremony as a "lovely moment," saying that receiving the honor was a "very good feeling." May added that he and the monarch, who is a year his junior at 74, joked about their age: "He was wondering if my knees were holding out for the kneeling part of the ceremony. I said: 'Yes, just about'."
The musician, who is also an astrophysicist, has been at Buckingham Palace before. In 2005, May received the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2002 he played a guitar rendition of the British national anthem, 'God Save the Queen,' from the royal residence’s roof for Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. He also performed at the late monarch’s Platinum Jubilee 20 years later.
May is also an animal rights activist, serving as vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals since 2012 and has led campaigns against fox hunting and badger culling in the UK.
Queen was founded in 1970 by May, along with frontman Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor. The group released 15 albums, with multiple platinum sales, and world-famous hits including Another One Bites the Dust, The Show Must Go On and Don’t Stop Me Now. Their power anthems We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions have become staples at sporting events. Queen also provided the soundtracks to 1980 space opera Flash Gordon and the 1986 cult classic Highlander.
Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, died in 1991, but May and Taylor have kept the group going to this day. On the band’s future, May told journalists: "We're thinking about touring, I can say that… I'm hoping I stay in good health – at the moment I seem to be in pretty good health, which is always great."
May suffered a minor heart attack in 2020, and tested positive for Covid-19 a year later, but has kept up his live performances, most recently with the Rhapsody Tour in 2019-2022.