December 01, 2003 09:57 AM

Mark Dec. 12 on the calendar: That’s the date plain old Mick Jagger becomes Sir Mick Jagger.

The Rolling Stones frontman will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his music services to the crown, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Originally, Her Majesty was to bestow the honor on Wednesday, Dec. 10, but Jagger was permitted to switch the date so he would not clash with that same day’s granting of an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) to England World Cup star Jonny Wilkinson.

Jagger, 60, first made the queen’s list for the honor in June 2002 but hasn’t had time for his knighting, due to his group’s 40th anniversary “40 Licks” world tour, which began in Boston in September 2002 and ended in Zurich last month.

At the time of the original announcement, Jagger expressed surprise and admitted that his friends and family were as amused as he was, given his anti-Establishment reputation.

As such, he said, he didn’t expect to be knighted until well into his dotage. “Noel Coward didn’t get a knighthood until he was 80,” Jagger said of the famed entertainer and playwright (“Private Lives”).

“Tom Stoppard’s older than me — he didn’t get a knighthood until recently,” Jagger also said, referring to the “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” playwright and “Shakespeare in Love” screenwriter. “I didn’t expect to get one. I just didn’t.”

He was not alone. Surprise detractors included Jagger’s bandmate, guitarist Keith Richards, who told the British music magazine Mojo that he was so angry Jagger was being knighted that he “threatened to pull out of the tour — (I) went berserk and bananas … cold, cold rage at (Jagger’s) blind stupidity.”

Richards said a knighthood went against the Stones’s philosophy of bucking the system. He also claimed that this wasn’t an instance of his being jealous of Jagger’s receiving a knighthood: “I doubt they thought of offering me one, because they know what I would’ve said,” said Richards, 59. “They knew I’d tell them where they could put it.”

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