Former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon said he was “proud” of Queen Elizabeth II’s achievements over the 70 years of her reign, regardless of the attitudes he expressed in the classic song “God Save the Queen.”

Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952 and has remained queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms ever since. Now aged 96, she’s the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

Asked about the song on Talk TV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored, Lydon – once known as Johnny Rotten – said, “It's very anti-royalist, but it's not antihuman. I've got to tell the world this: You mustn’t presume that I'm completely dead against the royal family as human beings; I'm not. I’m actually really, really proud of the Queen for surviving and doing so well. I applaud her for that – that is a fantastic achievement. I’m not a curmudgeon about that. I just think that if I’m paying my tax money to support this system, I should have a say-so on how it’s spent.”

Watch John Lydon Hail the Queen

He went on to suggest that the monarchy would end with Elizabeth, claiming her heir, Prince Charles, wouldn’t be able to “handle” the role. “This is the man who plays Pink Floyd to his cabbages,” he claimed.

“That’s a shame, too, cause I do love pageantry. I’m a football fan – how could I not? I like watching royal weddings because I love watching Spitfires and B-52s and the like flying over [Buckingham] Palace. I get quite emotional with all that. ... I love my country; I love my people and everything about it. But if there’s problems in it, I think I have the right to say so.”

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