Dr. Brian May of Queen adds"Sir" to his list of titles

Dr. Brian Harold May, lead guitarist of the rock group Queen has been knighted. The King’s Honors list for 2023 cites May as “Dr. Brian Harold May CBE, Musician, Astrophysicist and animal welfare advocate for services to music and to charity.”

May said in response to the honor, "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 endeavor to be worthy, to be that knight in shining armor.”

May received his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London in Astrophysics in 2007. As an activist for animal welfare, May also serves as vice president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the U.K.

King honours Queen.

So what does one call him now: ‘Sir Dr. Brian May’? ‘Dr. Sir Brian May’? Or does the ‘Sir’ now take precedence and he’s ‘Sir Brian May’ without the Dr.?

And where does Rock God fit into the list?

This is one of those weird language things where I’m almost certain I’ve never encountered this before, yet
(a) I have a strong intuition that “Dr. Sir Brian May” sounds right, “Sir Dr. Brian May” sounds wrong;
(b) This really makes no logical sense.

Is my brain unconsciously following an analogy with something else? I can’t figure it out.

Also, Brian May pisses me off. How can one human being be so fucking awesome? He’s like a young kid’s ridiculous fantasy of “what I want to be when I grow up”.

That’s how military ranks work. The head of the army, for example, is General Sir Patrick Sanders.

But I’m pretty sure “Dr.” just vanishes, and “PhD” can be tacked on wherever his degree is essential information.

I think you nailed it, that’s the analogy I was unconsciously following.

So is there a conspiracy theory that QE2 didn’t give him the knighthood because she was secretly jealous that they were the more famous Queen?

There is now !

From wikipedia

Combinations with other titles and styles


In the case of a military officer who is also a knight, the appropriate form of address puts the professional military rank first, then the correct manner of address for the individual, then his name. Examples include:


This is also the case with academic ranks and titles, such as ‘Professor’. For example, Patrick Bateson was both a professor[note 2] and a knight bachelor; his correct title would be Professor Sir Patrick Bateson. However, the title of ‘Doctor’ (Dr.) is not used in combination with ‘Sir’, with the knighthood taking precedence. Knighted doctors are addressed as knights, though they may still use any post-nominal letters associated with their degrees.

I used to know a General Sir Patrick !!
(Not that one)

With the help of his father, he designed and built the guitar he played through his career.

Well-deserved, and bravo, May.

Presumably that’s encompassed by “Musician”.

And Angie from the Queen Vic ipso facto becomes a Lady

Are you kidding? He’s this old guys’ ridiculous fantasy of what I want to be when I grow up.

Gin and tonics all around, Sir Brian, you have done well.

To celebrate:

(aside: If that’s due to time dilation in a constant-acceleration ship, it must be pulling at least 800 gs. And yes, I did calculate that.)

Well, we can’t let this pass without linking to a strong contender for the greatest live performance in the history of… well, history. I’ve cued it up to just before Hammer To Fall, written by Brian May. It’s hard to get noticed when Freddie’s on stage. It’s pretty funny - Freddie is so charismatic that even when Brian is playing his solo, the camera is still mostly on Freddie playing air guitar with his mic stand.

We Will Rock You at 17:39 is also a May composition.

Congratulations to Sir Brian, who’s been my favorite guitarist for over 40 years.

I have the same intuition, and I think it has to do with Sir always attaching to the given name.

I hope this means people will stop badgering him :upside_down_face:.

On a more serious note, besides his music, I’m a big fan of his stereoscopic efforts.

Additional proof of his coolness.