James Blunt has declared Britain’s Queen Elizabeth the most famous person he knows.

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The 34-year-old singer became acquainted with the monarch when he as a soldier in the Queen’s Life Guards, a unit of the British army’s Household Cavalry.

He told The Independent: “The most famous person I know is Queen Elizabeth. OK, I don’t know her particularly well but I met her enough times when I was her Life Guard. Yeah, alright, I don’t have her private phone number or anything but I was in her company a lot.”

Blunt began a posting with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment after returning from a tour of duty in Kosovo in 1999. The role involved him guarding the queen on horseback and being present at many royal ceremonies.

In 2002, he stood guard by the coffin of the Queen Mother, during her days of lying in State and marched in her funeral procession. Blunt left the army that year, but got another chance to meet the queen in 2007 when he sang at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Empire Theatre.