From now on, it’s Sir Ringo.
Ringo Starr, a.k.a. former and forever Beatles drummer Richard Starkey, was knighted for his services to music in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London today. The Duke of Cambridge did the honors.
“It means a lot actually,” Starr told the BBC. “It means recognition for the things we’ve done. I was really pleased to accept this.”
Some 53 years ago, Starr was at the palace with his former bandmates accepting the MBE — Member of the Order of the British Empire — and acknowledged missing them today. “I was a bit shaky today on my own,” he said.
Then again, he could have been calmer in 1965 for a different reason. Although John Lennon claimed in 1970 that the group had smoked marijuana in the palace men’s room before the ceremony to calm their nerves, Starr debunked it on Tuesday.
“Who said that?” he laughed. “I’m not keeping that rumor going.”
George Harrison denied it in the “Beatles Anthology” documentary as well.
“We never smoked marijuana at the investiture,” he said. “What happened was we were waiting to go through, standing in an enormous line with hundreds of people, and we were so nervous that we went to the toilet. And in there we smoked a cigarette – we were all smokers in those days.
“Years later, I’m sure John was thinking back and remembering, ‘Oh yes, we went in the toilet and smoked,’ and it turned into a reefer. Because what could be the worst thing you could do before you meet the Queen? Smoke a reefer! But we never did.”
However, Starr does join former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney in the honor, who was knighted 21 years ago.
Starr said McCartney gave him some simple advice in Los Angeles last week: “Keep smiling.”
He added to the Irish News, “I had dinner with him last week and we were both actually laughing about where we came from, and we’ve ended up in the palace and it’s now Sir Paul and Sir Richard.
“The four of us came here and it was a thrill then,” he added. “It was crazy because we were just four lads who played music and then suddenly we’re at the palace.”
The drummer did seem to feel a bit awkward with the honor. Asked if he wants to be known as Sir Ringo or Richard, he answered, “I don’t know yet. It’s new and I don’t know how you use it properly.”
He turned to a reporter and joked, “But I expect you to use it.”
As for what he intends to do with the medal, he joked, “I’ll be wearing it at breakfast.