Sir Kenneth joins cast of actor knights

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ACTOR and director Kenneth Branagh gave a special one-man performance for the Queen as he was knighted yesterday, 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 work and lately as Swedish detective Wallander for the BBC, was knighted in June for services to drama and the community of Northern Ireland.

Speaking after yesterday’s investiture, 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.”

He joins Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Ben Kingsley and Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness as a knight of the theatre.