Sir Paul McCartney remembers Queen Elizabeth fondly


Paul McCartney paid a heartfelt tribute to Queen Elizabeth II a day after her death.

McCartney, 80, who met the Queen “eight or nine times” and wrote the Beatles’ cheeky 26-second love song “Her Majesty,” told fans he was “privileged” to be alive during Elizabeth’s 70-year reign to have been.

“When I was 10 I entered an essay competition in Liverpool and won my class for my essay on the British monarchy, so I’ve been a fan for a long time,” he wrote on Facebook on Friday.

He then went on to detail how “every time they saw each other, she awed me with her great sense of humor combined with great dignity,” as they shared pictures of some of the encounters.

McCartney recalled being coached in how to deal with the late Queen in 1965 when the Beatles were awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

“I remember being taken aside and shown what the proper protocol was. We have been told how to approach Her Majesty and not to speak to her unless she speaks to us. For four guys from Liverpool it was ‘wow hey man’.”

Whether or not the group followed Buckingham Palace’s propriety has never been confirmed. John Lennon later explained the band smoked a joint in the palace bathroom before meeting. McCartney and George Harrison refuted Lennon’s claim and Ringo Starr said he didn’t remember.

Queen Elizabeth III speaks to the Beatles after a Royal Variety Show at the Prince of Wales Theater in London in 1963.
George Freston/Fox Photos/Getty Images

The Fab Four bassist next crossed paths with Elizabeth in 1982 at the Royal Albert Hall, he said.

“It was at an event [late wife] linda [McCartney] and I attended an evening for conservation. Part of the evening involved some orchestral reworkings of some Beatles songs and I remember speaking to Her Majesty about that. She also introduced me again to Prince Philip who said he remembered we last met in the 1960s!” he wrote.

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A decade and a half later, “The Queen graciously agreed to open the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on the site of my old school, which George Harrison and I attended,” McCartney said.

A year later, the Queen knighted Sir Paul, which he said was “a very proud day for me” and “one of the best days ever”.

Paul McCartney shows his paintings to Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool July 25, 2002.
Paul McCartney shows his paintings to Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool July 25, 2002.

“I was very honored to be offered the knighthood and of course it would have been impolite to refuse! I remember it was spring and the sky was blue. It was a wonderful day and I remember thinking I had come a long way from a small terraced house in Liverpool!”

The “Hey Jude” singer then serenaded the Queen at her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

“When Her Majesty received applause on stage at the end of the show, I joked, ‘Well I suppose that’s going to happen next year then?’ to which she replied: ‘It won’t be in my garden!'”

McCartney then explained how Elizabeth attended a painting exhibition he was putting on at a Liverpool gallery he used to visit with Lennon and that he also spoke to her at the Celebration of the Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts.

(left to right) Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison receive their MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth II on 26 October 1965.
Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison received their MBEs from Queen Elizabeth II on October 26, 1965.
Hulton Archives/Getty Images

“The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on June 4, 2012 and it was very special in so many ways. This was the first time I had performed in front of her since her last anniversary and it was great to see all the people stretching along Pall Mall as well as meeting other members of the royal family afterwards. It was a great weekend for Brits.”

The last meeting between the towering Brits was in 2018, when McCartney was awarded the Companion of Honor medal.

“I shook her hand, leaned forward and said, ‘We need to stop meeting like this,’ to which she gave a small giggle and continued with the ceremony. I was wondering if I was being a little cheeky after saying that, after all this was the queen, but I have a feeling she didn’t mind. God bless you. We will miss you.”

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