Queen’s Brian May Receives Knighthood in UK’s 2023 Honors List

The highly-respected guitarist will now be known as Sir Brian Harold May CBE.

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Brian May - Photo: WPA/Getty Images

Queen guitarist Brian May has been honored with the title Sir in the 2023 New Year’s Honors List published Friday December 30 at 22.30.

Brian’s Honors List citation recognizes Brian as: Dr. Brian Harold May CBE: “Musician, Astrophysicist and Animal Welfare Advocate. For services to Music and to Charity.”

Already carrying the title of Dr. as well as previously receiving a CBE, the Queen musician now receives the award of a Knighthood, adding the honorific title Sir to his name, hereafter to be recognized with the full title Sir Brian Harold May CBE. Brian’s wife of 22 years, Anita Dobson, may use the title of Lady May.

In receiving his recognition, Sir Brian responded saying: “I’m happy and grateful to receive this honor. I will regard the knighthood not so much as a reward, but more as a charge – a commission – for me to continue to fight for justice – to be a voice for those who have no voice. I will endeavour to be worthy – to be that Knight in Shining Armor.”

May was appointed Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire in 2005 for “services to the music industry and for his charity work”.

He is a doctor of astrophysics after resuming his studies and achieving his PhD from Imperial College, London in 2007.

Undoubtedly one of rock music’s greatest and best-known guitarists and songwriters, regularly appearing in ‘The World’s Greatest Guitarists’ polls, May is an icon to musicians of all ages. As a member of Queen he is a household name and his signature guitar riffs are world famous. Among May’s most recognized songs for Queen are “We Will Rock You,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” “The Show Must Go On” and “Hammer To Fall.”

Alongside his music achievements, May is an astrophysicist, passionate activist and animal welfare charity enthusiast, an avid and popular blogger as well as an author, and publisher. He is also vice-president of the RSPCA.

May’s full citation reads: “Dr. Brian Harold MAY, CBE: Brian May is an acclaimed musician and songwriter, founding member of the rock group Queen. In 2020 he was named Greatest Guitarist of All Time by Total Guitar Magazine. Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 is acknowledged as the greatest live set in history. Brian famously opened the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002 performing live on Buckingham Palace roof – and 20 years later returned to open the Platinum Jubilee concert atop the Victoria Monument.

“He is also an accomplished astrophysicist, now attached as stereoscopist to many NASA Space exploration teams. He re-established the London Stereoscopic Company in 2008, was co-founder of Asteroid Day in 2015, for the protection of Earth from Asteroid strikes, and was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moore’s University from 2008-2013. His work defending Britain’s wild animals led him to found the Save-Me Trust in 2009, which is his continuing passion, campaigning for the rights of foxes and badgers, and hosting an active wild-life rescue operation.”

Listen to the best of Queen on Apple Music and Spotify.

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