LONDON (AP) — Queen guitarist Brian May is now a “Sir.”
May, who also has a doctorate in astrophysics and is an animal welfare advocate, received a knighthood Friday as part of the U.K.’s annual New Year’s Honors list. The Queen guitarist, who was honored for services to music and charity, said he hopes the knighthood will give him “a little bit more clout.”
“Maybe a few more people will listen to me than would otherwise, you know, if it’s Sir Brian on the phone,” said May, who spoke to The Associated Press via Zoom from his house in Windlesham, Surrey.
He was among hundreds of artists, community leaders and athletes who were recognized on the first such list to be signed off by King Charles III.
May has campaigned against badger culling and fox hunting through an animal welfare group he founded in 2010 — named Save Me after the 1980 Queen song. Some animals he’s rescued over the years were released onto his land.
“I’ve felt for a long time that we had this false idea that humans are the only important species on the planet, and I don’t think an alien visitor would view 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 come from,” he said.
He acknowledged that he already had “a certain amount of power in the world, mainly because of music, obviously,” which allowed him to go into other areas, such as astrophysics and do work in stereoscopy, or 3D imaging. He received his doctorate from Imperial College, London in 2007.
“I do a lot in that area now, which I think is in its way a great service to mankind,” May said. “I give them stereoscopy and they give me the chance to play in nice observatories all around the world, you know — but also the animals.”
Knights are addressed as “sir” or “dame,” followed by their name. It also means May’s wife of 22 years, Anita Dobson, may use the title of Lady May.
“She’s thrilled to bits. Yes, yes, she’s very happy about that. Yes, Lady Anita will be enjoying it,” said May, “and it’s a thrill to me to be able to kind of confer that on her. It makes me feel proud that she gets an honor beside me because God knows I wouldn’t be here without her.”
The story has been corrected to reflect that Queen is still active and May is still the band’s guitarist.