Sir Paul McCartney reflected on the passing of the monarch who gave him that title, Queen Elizabeth II, with a lengthy Facebook post looking back on the nine times he met her over the course of 53 years.
“I feel privileged to have been alive during the whole of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. When I was 10 years old I entered an essay competition in Liverpool and won my division for my essay about the British Monarchy so I have been a fan for a long time,” McCartney wrote. “In 1953 when the Queen was crowned everyone on our street in Speke, Liverpool finally got a television set and we settled down to watch the Coronation in glorious black and white.”
Twelve years later, with The Beatles at the peak of their fame and “Help!” at the top of the charts, McCartney and the rest of the Fab Four met the Queen for the first time as the band received their membership into the Order of the British Empire.
“I remember us being taken aside and shown what the correct protocol was. We were told how to approach Her Majesty and not to talk to her unless she talks to us. For four Liverpool lads, it was, ‘Wow, hey man,'” McCartney wrote.
McCartney’s other meetings with the Queen included a Royal Albert Hall performance in 1982, McCartney’s knighthood in 1997, and the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees in 2002 and 2012.
“Just one year later and our next encounter was a very proud day for me. It was one of the best days ever. I felt very honoured to be offered a Knighthood and of course it would have been rude to turn it down!” McCartney wrote. “I remember it was in the springtime and the skies were blue. It was a wonderful day and I remember thinking I’d come a long way from a little terrace house in Liverpool!”
Their final meeting came in 2018, with McCartney remembering a fond moment with Queen Elizabeth when he received the Companion of Honour medal. “I shook her hand, leaned in and said, ‘We have got to stop meeting like this,’ to which she giggled slightly and got on with the ceremony. I did wonder if I was a bit too cheeky after saying this, after all this was The Queen, but I have a feeling she didn’t mind,” he recalled.
Queen Elizabeth died on Thursday at the age of 96, ending a 70-year reign that stands as the longest in British history. Her state funeral has been scheduled for September 19 with her son, King Charles III, succeeding her on the throne.
You can read his entire tribute below or on his Facebook page, where he also shares photos with Her Majesty through the years.