Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the long-serving committee chairman and “Lion of the Senate,— will add the title of “Sir— to his list of handles, thanks to the British government.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made the announcement in his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, praising Kennedy as “one of your most distinguished Senators, known in every continent and a great friend.—
“Northern Ireland is today at peace, more Americans have health care, more children around the world are going to school, and for all those things we owe a great debt to the life and courage of Sen. Edward Kennedy,— Brown said to rousing applause.
Because Kennedy is not a British citizen, he was not actually dubbed “Sir Ted.— Instead, he can put KBE, or Knight of the British Empire, after his name.
Joseph Kennedy, Kennedy’s late father, was briefly the ambassador to the Court of St. James under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the young Edward lived in London during that time. Today there remains a parcel of land dedicated to President John F. Kennedy, and in his speech to Congress, Brown recalled that the late president “looked to the heavens and saw not the endless void of the unknown, but a new frontier to dare to discover and explore.—
The ailing Sen. Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer and is expected to return to Washington, D.C., this week after spending much of the last several weeks receiving treatment in Florida, did not attend Brown’s speech but said in a statement that he was “deeply grateful— for Britain’s recognition.
“This honor is moving and personal — a reflection not only of my public life, but of things that profoundly matter to me as an individual,— Kennedy said in a statement. “I accept this honor in the spirit in which it is given, with a continuing commitment to be a voice for the voiceless and for the shared ideals of freedom and fairness which are so fundamental to the character of our two countries.—