WITH LOVE FROM MBE TO YOU; Macca Collects Knighthood

Article excerpt

Pop legend Paul McCartney returned to Buckingham Palace after 32 years yesterday, this time to be knighted.

And he admitted the ceremony brought memories flooding back of his previous visit in 1965.

Then he was with the three other Beatles, George, John and Ringo, picking up their MBEs.

Sir Paul said later: "It seems strange being here without the other three. I keep looking over my shoulder for them."

The long and winding road had taken him in 40 years from a council house and a skiffle group called The Quarrymen in Liverpool to being knighted by the Queen.

He said: "This is one of the best days of my life. You never forget the people who put you up there.

"My mum and dad would have been extremely proud. It's a huge honour."

And he revealed the Queen asked him about his career.

He said: "I told her it's still going well. I'm still heavily involved in music and I'm writing a new album."

His wife Linda, who is recovering from breast cancer, was not at the two- hour ceremony.

But three of the couple's four children, James, 19, Mary, 27, and Stella, 25, were.

He joked: "I would have loved the whole family to be here, but when we heard there were only three tickets we had to draw straws."

Paul looked tired and drawn as he swept through the gates of Buckingham Palace in a chauffeur- driven blue Mercedes.

Asked about Linda, Paul, 54, said: "She's quite well. She's recovering well but it's a long haul. You can never be complacent."

Linda, also 54, who performed with Paul in the chart-topping band Wings, has kept out of the public eye since her cancer was diagnosed during a check- up in December, 1995. …