A Knight at the Opera: Queen Guitarist Brian May Is Now Officially Sir Brian May

Brian May Goated - Credit: Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Brian May Goated - Credit: Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Nearly half a century of playing “God Save the Queen” on his electric guitar has paid off for Brian May. The Queen’s son, now King Charles III, officially knighted the musician on Tuesday. May, age 75, posted a photo of him taking the ceremonial sword to his shoulders, writing that he had “no words” to describe the honor.

Billboard reports that May, who co-founded the band Queen (not to be confused with the Queen), now officially holds the rank of “Knight Bachelor,” which recognizes his achievements in music and charity. Queen drummer Roger Taylor was similarly recognized in 2020 with the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire, allowing him to attach the suffix “OBE” to his name. May previously held the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, allowing him since 2005 to use “CBE.” Yesterday’s ceremony completes May’s journey from A Night of the Opera to a knight of the realm.

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“Arise, Sir Brian May,” the official Queen (the band) account tweeted. “Many congratulations, Sir Brian!”

In addition to writing some of the band’s most celebrated songs (“We Will Rock You,” “I Want It All”), May has founded an animal welfare charity called Save Me (named after his Queen composition) and has campaigned for animal rights around the world. May, an astronomer, has the distinction of having an asteroid named after him: 52665 Brianmay. Seven years ago, he co-founded Asteroid Day with Stephen Hawking, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweikert, and others. It is held annually on June 30.

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