Described as the “most overdue knighthood of all time” by musical writer Sir Tim Rice, the honour was presented by the Duke of Cambridge.
Ringo, 77, who received the honour under his real name, Sir Richard Starkey, for services to music, insisted it had come as a complete surprise.
“It means a lot. I’m sort of shocked in a way. I was sitting in LA and the letter came and I was so surprised.
“But I think it’s an honour,” said the drummer after the ceremony on Tuesday.
“A lot of people I don’t know wrote letters saying ‘congratulations, it’s about time,’ but for me the time is when it arrives, and that’s now.
“I just never thought of it. I just got on with my life and here we are. As I said, I’m just really surprised.”
Richard Starkey, has been honoured for his services to music after career spanning more than half a century, during which he helped revolutionize pop and rock music with former bandmates Paul, John and George.