Kenneth Branagh receives knighthood

 

Hollywood star Kenneth Branagh gave a special one-man performance for the Queen as he was knighted today, more than 30 years after first performing for her.

Sir Kenneth, 51, said he was excited and honoured to receive the accolade from the monarch, whom he first met when she saw him play Hamlet - now one of his trademark roles - as a 19-year-old student at RADA in 1980.

The Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter, known for his Shakespearean works and more recently as Swedish detective Wallander on the BBC, was knighted in the Queen's birthday honours in June.

Speaking after his investiture at Buckingham Palace today for services to drama and the community of Northern Ireland, the Belfast-born star said: "I'm so very pleased this has happened in the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics.

"It's been a hell of a year for the UK and I feel very honoured to be a tiny part of this part of it."

The new Knight Batchelor, whose wife Lindsay Brunnock was among those at the ceremony, joins the likes of Alec Guinness, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Ben Kingsley and Laurence Olivier in becoming a thespian knight.

But he said he was most pleased to be honoured for his work with charities in his native country.

"It is special because it is to do with my roots in Northern Ireland and to do with a lot of work other people do and I'm happy to be associated with, lots of charitable institutions and real hard work on the part of a lot of people over there.

"I'm pleased the link with Northern Ireland is recognised, I'm very proud of coming from there."

He joked he was acting "showbiz" after the investiture by jumping on a motorbike back to Pinewood Studios, where he is directing Jack Ryan, the latest in the long-running film adaptation of Tom Clancy's spy thriller novels.

 

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