CBSN

Bill Gates Meets The Queen

A Palestinian Muslim worshipper prays during the second Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, Sept. 4, 2009. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, where observants fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen
Bill Gates, not generally noted for standing on ceremony, is headed for one of the most formal occasions on earth.

The software king, whose Microsoft corporation controls the use of pricey computer tech-certification initials such as MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), is going to be acquiring some new initials of his own: K.B.E. (Knight Commander of the British Empire).

As is traditional, Gates will kneel at Buckingham Palace as Queen Elizabeth II taps him on the shoulder with a sword, officially conferring the honor.

You've got to be a real Brit to be a knight, however, so the title for Gates - as an American - will be purely honorary.

The award, says CBS News Tech Analyst Larry Magid, is a recognition of Gates' enormous influence on the world.

"I think it can be safely said that he has had an enormous impact on business, government and the personal lives of millions of people around the globe," says Magid. "He is also an extremely generous philanthropist whose foundation has invested billions to tackle health problems in developing countries."

"Gates' business practices have been criticized and subject to lawsuits in the U.S.," says Magid, adding that "Gates is to personal computer software what Henry Ford was to automobiles. But like Ford's early cars, Gates software is prone to breaking down and sometimes even crashing."

Honors from the Queen generally recognize economic or humanitarian contributions, especially but not exclusively to the health of the British Commonwealth.

The Queen makes the rounds at a lot of ceremonies however and can't be expected to know the names and faces of all the honorees.

At least that's the attitude being taken by some giants in rock and roll who were invited to Buckingham Palace Tuesday for a party honoring the British music industry.

Meeting four of Britian's most famous guitarists, Queen Elizabeth asked them: "And what do you do?"

It's not a question they get everyday, but Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Brian May of the group Queen were not offended.

"It's great to meet her and it doesn't matter at all that she did not know who were are or what we do. I wouldn't expect her to," said Clapton, after introducing himself to the Queen.

Other guests at Tuesday's royal reception included Welsh teenage pop star Charlotte Church, singers Cilla Black and Shirley Bassey, The Who's Roger Daltry and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

Another guest, recording artist Phil Collins, said it was the not the first time he had meet the Queen.

"The Queen has heard my music but I don't know if she's a fan," said Collins.