LONDON (AP) — Queen guitarist Brian May is now a ‘Sir’.
May, who also has a PhD in astrophysics and is committed to animal welfare, was knighted on Friday as part of Britain’s annual New Year’s Honors list. He was one of hundreds of artists, community leaders and athletes recognized on the first such list signed by King Charles III.
The former Queen guitarist was honored for his services to music and charity. He said he hopes the knighthood will give him “a little bit more clout”.
“Maybe a few more people will listen to me than usual, you know, if it’s Sir Brian on the phone,” said May, who spoke to The Associated Press via Zoom from his home in Windlesham, Surrey.
He campaigned against badger culling and fox hunting through an animal welfare group he founded in 2010 – called Save Me, after the 1980 Queen song. Some of the animals he has rescued over the years have been released onto his land.
“I’ve long felt that we had this false idea that humans are the only major species on the planet, and I don’t think an alien visitor would see it that way. I think every species and every individual has the right to a decent life and a decent death. That’s kind of where I’m from,” he said.
He acknowledged that he already had “a certain power in the world, mainly thanks to music, of course”, which allowed him to move into other fields such as astrophysics and do work in stereoscopy or 3D imaging. He received his PhD from Imperial College London in 2007.
“I’m doing a lot in that area now, which I think is a great service to humanity in its way,” May said. “I give them stereoscopy and they give me the opportunity to play in beautiful observatories around the world, you know – but also the animals.”
Knights are addressed as “sir” or “lady” followed by their name. It also means May’s wife of 22 years, Anita Dobson, gets to use the title of Lady May.
‘She’s all excited. Yes, yes, she is very happy about that. Yes, Lady Anita, she’ll enjoy it,” May said, “and it’s a relief to me to be able to convey that to her. It makes me feel proud to have her honored alongside me, because God knows I wouldn’t be here without her.”
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