The Duke of Cambridge bestowed the honour on the Liverpool-born star at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
“It means a lot actually,” the musician told the BBC. “It means recognition for the things we’ve done. I was really pleased to accept this.”
The honour comes 53 years after the Beatles were all awarded the MBE – and Starr said he had missed his bandmates’ companionship this time round.
“I was a bit shaky today on my own,” he said.
When The Beatles received their MBEs in October 1965, the occasion was not without controversy.
Rock and roll was still viewed with suspicion by the establishment and several previous honourees returned their medals in disgust.
John Lennon later claimed that the Beatles were so nervous at the idea of meeting the Queen they sneaked into a bathroom at Buckingham Palace for a cigarette.
“Who said that?” laughed the drummer after Tuesday’s ceremony. “I’m not keeping that rumour going.”
He arrived at the investiture with his wife, Barbara Bach, offering his trademark peace sign for fans and photographers.
Asked whether he wanted to be known as Sir Ringo, the musician, whose real name is Richard Starkey, replied: “I don’t know yet. It’s new and I don’t know how you use it properly.”
Turning to BBC reporter Colin Paterson, he added: “But I expect you to use it.”
The 77-year-old added he knew exactly what he’d do with his medal.
“I’ll be wearing it at breakfast,” he joked.