Sen. Kennedy Is Now ‘Sir Ted'

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told Congress that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has been awarded honorary knighthood.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who is battling brain cancer, did not attend Brown's address Wednesday to a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Brown told the senator on Tuesday night that Queen Elizabeth II had made him a member of British nobility. In his speech, Brown referred to the senator as "Sir Edward Kennedy" and called him a "great friend."

Brown said Kennedy had helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, expand health care for Americans and improve access to education for children around the world.

Kennedy, scion of an Irish-American political dynasty, is known in Britain for his involvement in the long process that led to Northern Ireland's 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

But before Kennedy gets all teary eyed over the distinction there are a few important caveats to mention.
Senator Kennedy is not allowed to refer to himself as “sir” and neither can his constituents. Only the queen’s subjects are allowed to say it.
Also, Kennedy isn’t the first to receive the distinction. Recently knighted Americans include Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, George H.W. Bush and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.  
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