Paul McCartney paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and reminisced about his many encounters with Her Majesty — from his time with the Beatles to 2018 — in a statement Friday following her death at the age of 96.
“On the sad occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, my memories came flooding back and I would like to share these with you,” McCartney wrote on his official website.
“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. 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.”
Over the course of his career, McCartney, who wrote the Beatles’ “Her Majesty” for the monarch, estimates he met Queen Elizabeth II “eight or nine times,” and “each time she impressed me with her great sense of humor combined with great dignity.”
“Firstly, when The Beatles got the MBE on 26th October 1965. I remember us being taken aside and shown what the correct protocol was,” McCartney wrote. “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.’”
Over the next decade, McCartney would encounter the Queen at musical performances, knighthood ceremonies, a school opening — “the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on the site of my old school that George Harrison and myself attended,” McCartney wrote — and Queen’s Jubilees.
“On June 4th 2012, The Queen would celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and it was 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. It was a great weekend to be British,” McCartney added.
“Our last meeting came in 2018. Because of my respect and love for the Queen and her fabulous sense of humor 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.”
McCartney ended his remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II on a touching note, “God bless you. You will be missed.”
Ringo Starr added on Twitter: