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Paul McCartney recalls Queen Elizabeth II’s “great sense of humour,” “great dignity”

Paul McCartney and Queen Elizabeth II in 2012; Dave Thompson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Following Queen Elizabeth II's death Thursday at age 96, Sir Paul McCartney issued a brief statement paying tribute to the monarch. But now the rock legend has penned a lengthy homage looking back at all the times he met the queen.

In the message, which was posted on his official website, McCartney starts by noting, "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."

He also recalls watching the queen's 1953 coronation on a black-and-white TV.

Sir Paul says he met Queen Elizabeth "eight or nine times," adding that "each time she impressed me with her great sense of humour combined with great dignity."

The first time McCartney met the queen was in October 1965, when The Beatles received the Member of the Order of the British Empire honor.

One of the most memorable occasions, according to Paul, was in 1997 on what he describes as "a very proud day for me" -- receiving his knighthood.

"I felt very honoured to be offered a Knighthood and of course it would have been rude to turn it down!" he says.

Other meetings took place in 2002 and 2012, respectively, when Paul performed at the Queen's Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

McCartney recalls that the last time he saw Queen Elizabeth in person was in 2018, when she presented him with the Companion of Honour medal.

As Sir Paul recalls, "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."

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