Ailing Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy has been chosen to receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced it during his address to a joint session of Congress, citing Kennedy’s role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and work on health care and education.
Honorary knighthoods are given to recognize special achievement, and most go to British citizens. Kennedy joins a group of less than 100 Americans to receive the honor since the queen took the throne in 1952, including presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Actually, the honorary title doesn’t call for Kennedy to be addressed as “sir,” as Brown did in his speech to Congress. Still, it’s a gracious gesture from a people known for such things.