DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish rock star and rights campaigner Bono has been awarded an honorary British knighthood, the British Embassy in Dublin said on Saturday.
“Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Bono to be an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work,” the embassy said in a statement.
Fellow Irish rocker Bob Geldof, also a high-profile rights campaigner, received the same award in 1986. Honorary knighthoods are awarded to non-British nationals.
A statement on the U2 Web site (www.u2.com) said Bono was “very flattered to be honored, particularly if the honor ... opens doors for his long standing campaigning work against extreme poverty in Africa.”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was delighted Bono had chosen to accept the award.
“I’ll leave it to others far more knowledgeable than me to talk about U2’s music. All I’ll say is that, along with millions of others right across the world, I am a huge fan,” he said in the letter, reprinted on the No. 10 Web site (www.pm.gov.uk).
The prime minister said he felt more qualified to talk about Bono’s personal commitment to tackling global poverty and, in particular, to Africa. “I know from talking to you how much these causes matter to you,” Blair said.
The knighthood is the latest award for 46-year-old Bono. In 2003, he was given the Legion D’Honneur by President Jacques Chirac on behalf of the French government, for his contribution to music and his campaigning work.
Last year Bono was awarded the Time Person of the Year 2005, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, for his work promoting justice and equality.
The British Embassy said Bono would receive the award from the British ambassador to Ireland in a ceremony in Dublin shortly after New Year’s Day.
Bestowal of an honorary award does not confer the title “Sir” on the holder.