Why Elton John's Latest Royal Award Has Fans In A Frenzy

After a career spanning five decades and scads of awards, it's hard to imagine that Elton John could achieve any greater honors in his lifetime. And yet he has. On November 10, 2021, the acclaimed singer-songwriter was installed as a member of the royal Order of the Companions of Honour (via USA Today). Established in 1917 by King George, the award is one of the highest honors a monarch can bestow on a U.K. citizen. Per the royal family's website, it is "granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time."

The Rocketman received his investiture at Windsor Castle by none other than Prince Charles, who also congratulated the superstar through the Clarence House Twitter and Instagram accounts. "Sir Elton, who received the special award for his Services to Music and Charity, has a Crocodile Rockin' career spanning over 50 years," the announcement read. 

It's an elite group. The Order may only have 65 members at any given time, though non-British nationals can be named as additional honorary members. While the majority of honorees have been politicians, notable performers and athletes have joined the ranks in recent years, via The Gazette. Among them are Sirs David Attenborough and Ian McKellen, and Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. But Sir Elton is only the second rock musician to receive the honor, along with fellow icon Sir Paul McCartney. 

Elton John was congratulated by some very special people

In addition to his catalogue of hits, Elton John has also distinguished himself through his charitable enterprises — most notably his Elton John AIDS Foundation, which funds medical and education efforts worldwide in a mission to eradicate the disease in this century. Of course, he has long been a favorite musician of the royal family, most particularly Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, and Princess Diana, with whom he had a close friendship (via Biography). After the princess's tragic death in a car crash, John was invited to perform at her funeral, and he played a revised version of "Candle in the Wind" with lyrics reflecting Diana's legacy.

The award announcement was met with hundreds of congratulatory messages from fans, who raved that the honor was well deserved. A supporter on Twitter said, "Congratulations to an international institution that is Elton John ... thank you for the music and all the hard work and awareness." An Instagram follower took note of Sir Elton's uncharacteristically subdued outfit: "Impressed with the only bling on show is a very well and richly deserved medal!" And John's longtime lyricist, Bernie Taupin, wrote simply, "Wow congratulations," with a heart emoji.

But the most heartwarming congratulations of all was from John's husband, David Furnish, who posted the pics from the ceremony and wrote, "The most magical morning accompanying Elton as he collected his Companion of Honour at Windsor Castle. So richly deserved. Congratulations my darling, I'm so proud of you."