Sir Paul McCartney shares decades of ‘privileged’ interactions with the Queen

·4-min read
Sir Paul McCartney shares decades of ‘privileged’ interactions with the Queen (Dave Thompson/PA) (PA Archive)
Sir Paul McCartney shares decades of ‘privileged’ interactions with the Queen (Dave Thompson/PA) (PA Archive)

Sir Paul McCartney said he feels “privileged” to have been alive during the entirety of the Queen’s reign, as he shared decades of intimate memories with the monarch that had come “flooding back” after her death.

Writing on his website, the world famous musician recalled his multiple interactions with the Queen, the first of which had come in 1965, and the last in 2018, when he had made her “giggle slightly”.

He said he had been “a fan for a very long time” and had been “honoured and amazed” on each occasion that the pair had come together.

Recalling his earliest memories at the age of 10, Sir Paul wrote: “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.

“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.”

Ten years later The Beatles performed at the Royal Variety Performance in 1963, but it was it was two years after that, when the band was made MBE, that they had their first encounter.

“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,’” Sir Paul said.

“The next time we met was some years later at the Royal Albert Hall on 13th December 1982.

Sir Paul first met the Queen in 1965 when The Beatles were made MBE (PA) (PA Archive)
Sir Paul first met the Queen in 1965 when The Beatles were made MBE (PA) (PA Archive)

“Part of the evening included some orchestral re-workings of some Beatles songs and I remember chatting with Her Majesty about them.

“She also re-introduced me to Prince Philip who said he remembered our previous meeting in the 60s.”

Their third meeting came more than a decade later in June 1996 when the Queen opened the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on the site of Sir Paul’s old school, which he attended with band mate George Harrison.

The next, which came just one year later was “a very proud day,” Sir Paul said.

The pair also met on Sir Paul’s own home-turf, as he showed the Queen around a painting exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, in Liverpool (PA) (PA Archive)
The pair also met on Sir Paul’s own home-turf, as he showed the Queen around a painting exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, in Liverpool (PA) (PA Archive)

“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.

“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.”

Sir Paul recalled how the next encounter had taken place in “a new millennium” and he had been given the opportunity to “rock out” in the Queen’s garden to celebrate her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

“As Her Majesty was on stage receiving applause at the end of the show I joked, ‘Well I suppose this will be happening next year then?’ to which she replied, ‘Not in my garden it won’t!’,” he said.

Sir Paul recalled how he had been given the opportunity to ‘rock out’ in the Queen’s garden to celebrate her Golden Jubilee in 2002 (PA) (PA Archive)
Sir Paul recalled how he had been given the opportunity to ‘rock out’ in the Queen’s garden to celebrate her Golden Jubilee in 2002 (PA) (PA Archive)

They next met on Sir Paul’s own home turf, as he showed the Queen around a painting exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, in Liverpool.

“A decade on and Nancy and I attended a special event titled Celebration of the Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and it was a thrill as ever to talk with Her Majesty,” he said.

In 2012 the musical megastar performed at the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee, which he described as “so special in many ways”.

“This was the first time I performed in front of her since her last Jubilee, and seeing all the people stretching down Pall Mall was great, as was meeting other members of the Royal Family afterwards,” he said.

“It was a great weekend to be British.”

Sir Paul also praised the Queen’s “fabulous sense of humour” when he recalled their final meeting in 2018.

Sir Paul also praised the Queen’s “fabulous sense of humour” which he recalled their final meeting in 2018 (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
Sir Paul also praised the Queen’s “fabulous sense of humour” which he recalled their final meeting in 2018 (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

“Because of my respect and love for the Queen and her fabulous sense of humour when I was given 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.”

Sir Paul signed off his recollections by saying: “God bless you. You will be missed.”