WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy was given an honorary knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday, officials said.
The Washington Post reported that the Massachusetts Democrat's honor was announced by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who on Wednesday addressed a joint session of Congress.
In his speech, Brown praised Kennedy's role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland after years of strife and his efforts to strengthen healthcare and educational opportunities in the United States and elsewhere.
"Northern Ireland today is at peace, more Americans have healthcare, children around the world are going to school," Gordon said. "And for all these things, we owe a great debt to the life, and courage, of Senator Edward Kennedy."
Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, was not in the House chamber for Brown's speech. The British premier said the two spoke by phone Tuesday night, the newspaper reported.
The Post noted that fewer than 100 U.S. citizens have received honorary knighthoods since the queen took the throne in 1952. American honorees have included former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.