How To Become A Modern-Day Knight: The History Of The Order Of The British Empire

By | June 15, 2020

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Knight from the late 12th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

We may think of knights as those medieval guys with the suits of armor who rode around looking for the Holy Grail or whatever, but that style of knighthood went out with the Plague. However, did you know that knights still exist? And that several well-known celebrities—such as Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Ringo Starr—have been knighted by the Queen? Wanna join their ranks? Read on, friend.

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Prince William knighting Sir Kenneth Gibson, honored for his work in education. (

For Men Only

Sorry, ladies: Only men can become knights. Don't give up hope just yet, though! How would you like to be a dame? According to classic Hollywood noir films, you already are one, but it's actually the other-gendered equivalent to a knight. Just as some famous men have been granted the honor of adding "Sir" to their names, many famous women—Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Elizabeth Taylor, just to name a few—have earned the title of "Dame" by receiving the Order of the British Empire.