Twenty years after Queen Elizabeth II first knighted Sir Paul McCartney, the Beatles great has been elevated with a Companion of Honour award for services to music.
“I’m very happy about this huge honour and with the news coming on my birthday weekend and Father’s Day it makes it colossal!” McCartney said in a statement.
McCartney is one of only a handful of musical artists – including singer Vera Lynn, percussionist Evelyn Glennie and opera singer Janet Baker – to receive the Companion of Honour Award.
Other recipients include Stephen Hawking, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who like McCartney received the honour as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors list, according to reports.
Ed Sheeran, who allegedly sliced and scarred his cheek in a faux-knighthood ceremony, took a step closer to the real thing with an MBE – Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – for services to music and charity. British singer Emile Sande also received an MBE.
“Chuffed to be awarded an MBE for services to charity and music,” Sheeran wrote of the honour on Instagram.
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded in June 1917 by King George V as a reward for outstanding achievements and is “conferred upon a limited number of persons for whom this special distinction seems to be the most appropriate form of recognition, constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit”.