Paul McCartney fondly recalls Queen Elizabeth, including that time he got ‘a bit too cheeky’

Paul McCartney shared a heartfelt tribute to Queen Elizabeth II a day after her passing.

McCartney, 80, who met the queen “eight or nine times” and penned The Beatles’ cheeky 26-second love song “Her Majesty,” told fans he was “privileged” to have been alive during all of Elizabeth’s 70-year 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,” he wrote on Facebook Friday.

He then went on to detail how “she impressed me with her great sense of humour combined with great dignity” every time they saw each other while sharing pictures of some of the encounters.

McCartney recalled being coached on how to interact with the late queen in 1965 when The Beatles were awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

“I remember us being taken aside and shown what the correct protocol was. 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.’”

Whether or not the group followed Buckingham Palace decorum was never confirmed. John Lennon later stated the band smoked a joint in the palace bathroom before the meeting. McCartney and George Harrison refuted Lennon’s claim and Ringo Starr said he didn’t remember.

Queen Elizabeth III speaks to The Beatles after a Royal Variety Show at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in 1963.
George Freston/Fox Photos/Getty Images

The Fab Four bassist next crossed paths with Elizabeth at the Royal Albert Hall in 1982, he said.

“It was at an event [late wife] Linda [McCartney] and I attended called An Evening for Conservation. 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 sixties!,” he wrote.

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A decade and a half later, “The Queen graciously agreed to open the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on the site of my old school that George Harrison and myself attended,” McCartney said.

A year later, the queen knighted Sir Paul, which he said was a “very proud day for me” and “one of the best days ever.”

Paul McCartney shows Queen Elizabeth II his paintings during a visit to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool on July 25, 2002.
Paul McCartney shows Queen Elizabeth II his paintings during a visit to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool on July 25, 2002.

“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!”

The “Hey Jude” singer then serenaded the queen at 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!’”

McCartney then explained how Elizabeth attended a painting exhibition he hosted at a Liverpool gallery he used to visit with Lennon, and that he also talked to her at the Celebration of the Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts.

(left to right) Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison receive their MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth II on October 26, 1965.
Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison receive their MBEs from Queen Elizabeth II on October 26, 1965.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“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.”

The last meeting between the towering Brits came in 2018 when McCartney 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. God bless you. You will be missed.”

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