Twice a year, Queen Elizabeth II draws up a list of Britons to be honored for their service to the Empire. The tradition dates back more than 900 years and was one of the ways the monarchy kept its subjects in line--only royal favorites got titles.

This year, 1,035 Brits will be honored, including celebrities, civil servants and plain folks. The Queen passes out the most prestigious titles at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace each summer. And that's when Paul McCartney will officially become a knight.

Some other subjects will be handed royal titles. Andrew Lloyd Webber, already a knight, gets upgraded to a life peer--which means the Evita composer can now sit in the British Parliament as a member of the House of Lords. Joan Collins, who made a career out of being a royal bitch on Dynasty, becomes an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

The 54-year-old McCartney will be the first of the Fab Four to be knighted by the Queen. Back in 1965, in a brazen attempt to curry favor with young Brits, then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson convinced the Queen to make the Beatles Members of the Order of the British Empire. The move outraged previous recipients, who sent back their honors, saying rewarding the moptops sullied the award. Years later, John Lennon sent back his MBE to protest British policy.

McCartney dedicated his title to his former mates: "It's a fantastic honor, and I am very grateful receiving it on behalf of all the people of Liverpool and the other Beatles, without whom it wouldn't have been possible," he said in a statement.

A McCartney spokesman also debunked a famous anecdote about the Beatles 1965 trip to the palace. Legend has it that John, Paul, George and Ringo smoked marijuana in a royal lavatory before meeting their monarch. "John Lennon made it up as a joke," the spokesman told the Daily Telegraph.

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