Arise Sir Ringo! Former Beatle makes it a Hard Day's Knight

Sir Richard Starkey, also known as Ringo Starr, after he was awarded a Knighthood Credit: Press Association.

The Beatles' Ringo Starr has told of his "shock" at receiving a knighthood at Buckingham Palace.

Described as the "most overdue knighthood of all time" by musical writer Sir Tim Rice, the honour was presented by the Duke of Cambridge.

But Starr, 77, who received the honour under his real name, Sir Richard Starkey, for services to music, insisted it had come as a complete surprise.

"It means a lot. I'm sort of shocked in a way. I was sitting in LA and the letter came and I was so surprised.

"But I think it's an honour," said the drummer after the ceremony on Tuesday.

"A lot of people I don't know wrote letters saying 'congratulations, it's about time,' but for me the time is when it arrives, and that's now.

"I just never thought of it. I just got on with my life and here we are. As I said, I'm just really surprised."

His knighthood came more than 50 years after he, along with band mates John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, visited the palace to receive MBEs.

"The four of us came here and it was a thrill then," said Starr.

"It was crazy because we were just four lads who played music and then suddenly we're at the palace."

Starr joins the only other living Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, who was knighted in 1997, in receiving the honour.

He said: "I had dinner with him last week and we were both actually laughing about where we came from, and we've ended up in the palace and it's now Sir Paul and Sir Richard.

"We never even thought of that. It's not like we were like, 'well one day'."

Still passionate about music, Starr also spoke of the difficulties faced by up-and-coming bands.

He said: "There's always new bands coming through. It's harder now, it was hard enough for us.

"There's no record business any more, so you've got to get out and play."But the problem with that is, there's less venues. So, it's like a weirdness because you have to get out and play more, but there's less places to play. You have to do your best."

Sir Richard Starkey, also known as Ringo Starr, with wife Barbara Bach, as they arrived at Buckingham Palace Credit: Press Association