On this day in history : 26th October 1965 – The Beatles visit Buckingham Palace to be awarded with their MBE medals by Her Majesty the Queen….
The band had been notified four months before that they were to be the recipients of the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award, when their names had appeared on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in the previous June….
There were those who did not agree with the decision to honour the Beatles – rock and roll music was still rather distasteful to some…. A few previously decorated individuals even returned their medals in disgust and protest….
However, honoured they were – as Britain’s greatest musical ambassadors…. They received their awards that day alongside 185 other people…. They were taken to one side before the ceremony and coached in the protocol for meeting the Queen…. The boys were so nervous, even popping to the loo for a calming smoke before the proceedings…. But all went smoothly – they even shared a joke or two with Her Majesty….
Ironically, four years later, just as there had been those who returned their medals in protest at the Beatles being honoured, John Lennon was to do the same with his…. “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With love, John Lennon”….
In 2009 his medal was discovered lying in a vault in St. James’ Palace….