The Real Reason Queen Elizabeth II Refused to Personally Knight Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger, known to the world as the frontman of the Rolling Stones, is officially Sir Michael Philip Jagger. The title, bestowed upon him in 2003 is perhaps one of the most controversial knighthoods of the century. Not only did his bandmates weigh in on his acceptance of the honor, but the world at large debated whether the legendary rocker’s nomination fell in line with the tradition of knighthood. One staunch opponent of the appointment was the queen herself. In an act of defiance, she even allegedly refused to do the knighting. While the queen and Jagger have a long history of contempt for one another, the real reason she refused to knight the Rockstar might surprise you.

Who presented Mick Jagger with the honor?

Officially knighted in 2003, Mick Jagger become Sir Michael Philip Jagger, but like everything The Rolling Stones frontman does, his knighthood is controversial. Not only did many people believe the 75-year-old vocalist didn’t deserve the honor, but the queen herself was not on hand at the ceremony. It’s rumored that Queen Elizabeth II refused to be a part of the celebration.

Mick Jagger and David Bowie Duet
Mick Jagger and David Bowie (Photo by Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Instead, Prince Charles officially knighted Jagger in a December 2003 ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The queen was not the only individual to be bothered by Jagger’s honor. According to CNN, Jagger’s bandmate, Keith Richard raged about Jagger’s nomination leading up to the ceremony. He voiced his opinion on several media outlet.

David Bowie, a close confidant of Jagger’s, also took issue with his acceptance of the nomination. Bowie was offered the honor twice; turning down the monarch’s second attempt to provide him with the recognition the same year Jagger received his.

Why did Queen Elizabeth II refuse to knight Mick Jagger?

While Queen Elizabeth II was officially in the hospital having cartilage removed from her knee, it is rumored that the monarch had chosen the date for the surgery specifically to avoid the ceremony. Jagger, who has an illustrious history of speaking out against the queen, was nominated by prime minister Tony Blair. Blair, a massive fan of the Stones, had a heavy hand in the list of nominees during his time in office.

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According to The Telegraph, the queen was displeased with the nomination for several reasons. Not only had Jagger once referred to the queen as “chief witch,” but he had spoken out against the monarch on multiple occasions. Queen Elizabeth II also allegedly took issue with Jagger’s relationship with Princess Margaret. Jagger is rumored to have had an on-going, drug-fueled affair with the princess, according to The Daily Mail.

Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t the only person displeased with the nomination

While the queen was the most apparent opponent of Jagger being knighted, several individuals took issue with the nomination. British citizens took issue with the nomination, noting that the rockstar had done little outside the musical community for the British people.

Mick Jagger and Prince Charles
Rolling Stones singer, Mick Jagger (left) and Prince Charles (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

They argue that in order to receive knighthood one needs to contribute significantly to the health and wellness of the British realm. While several musicians have received the honor; including Sir Elton John, their nomination was more in line with the traditional reasons a person may become a knight. Elton John, for example, has been a particularly powerful force in the charity world. John’s the Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised nearly $400 million in the United States and the United Kingdom.

While Jagger has made charitable contributions and is a supporter of several charities along with his bandmates, his charitable giving is less widely known. The musical genius, however, has contributed large sums in the past, and his contribution to music cannot be denied.