The Beatles to be awarded MBEs

Brian Epstein requested that Paul McCartney and Jane Asher return from their Portuguese holiday a day early, so all The Beatles could be in Britain on the day it was announced that they would be awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire.

The press embargo restricting publication of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was lifted during the evening, to allow the next day’s newspapers to carry the news.

Paul McCartney with the Daily Mail newspaper bearing a headline about The Beatles' MBEs, 11 June 1965

The Beatles were nominated for the award by prime minister Harold Wilson, who was also member of parliament for Huyton, Merseyside. It was widely seen as an attempt by Wilson to appear in touch with the younger generation, although at the time the voting age was 21.

McCartney was interviewed by Ronald Burns on the telephone for the BBC radio show Late Night News Extra, which also carried an interview between Epstein and the BBC’s Peter Haigh. The programme was broadcast that night between 10.35pm and 11.30pm.

The Beatles collected their MBEs from Buckingham Palace on 26 October 1965.

Last updated: 10 June 2017
Mixing: I Want To Hold Your Hand
Press conference about the MBE announcement
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