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Culture And Criticism

Patrick Stewart Is Knighted, And Now He Doesn't Need Frequent-Flyer Points

Actor Sir Patrick Stewart poses with his award after he was Knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace today in London. Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Patrick Stewart's actual knighting ceremony — "investiture," actually — was held today, and as you would expect, he looks spiffy with that award.

It reminded me of the panel discussion when he spoke during the Television Critics Association press tour in January (the same discussion where I asked him about pop culture and high culture). At that time, he was asked about being knighted, and how it felt. Here's what he said:

There’s a line in Macbeth spoken, I think, by Macduff, where he says, "Lest our old garments fit more easily than our new." And that’s how I’m experiencing it currently. The act itself has not yet taken place. I’m not quite clear what that act is, but what is, I think, called the investiture will happen during the spring. What has happened is that all of the new year’s honorees have been named. And except that it gives you the opportunity to add my new title, nothing else has taken place.

I can tell you it got me an upgrade on British Airways, and, with my American girlfriend, fast-tracked through immigration, which she was grateful for. I really — I’m finding this distinction a little bemusing. It was one that was not looked for, and to be invited to join this list of my living fellow actors who have already been knighted, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Antony Sher, is dazzling for me, and I’m deeply grateful for it. Thank you.

So there you have it. Today, he has a medal to go with his free upgrades on British Airways. Congratulations, Sir. (Can I call you Sir?)