Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday in a tradition-filled ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
New York's former fire commissioner, Thomas Von Essen, and former police commissioner Bernard Kerik also received royal honors for services after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Von Essen and Kerik were made honorary CBEs, Commanders of the British Empire.
The three New Yorkers were the last to be received by the queen during the ceremony in the gilded palace ballroom at which a total of 104 people were honored.
The queen - who was dressed in black following the death of her sister, Princess Margaret, last week - handed Guiliani his medal in an open case, and the two chatted briefly before Giuliani stepped back and bowed gently.
Giuliani did not kneel for the traditional touching of the sword on each shoulder - a protocol reserved for British subjects who receive a full knighthood.
Speaking to reporters outside the palace afterward, Giuliani said the queen had told him she had watched the events of Sept. 11 unfold and said it must have been a difficult time for New York.
"I told her that I believe I speak for all the people of New York and America in thanking her for the tremendous support after Sept. 11. We need friends and we have no better friends than Great Britain," Giuliani said.
He showed off his honors, a blue and red enameled cross on red ribbon and the Star of the Knight Commander, a jewel-encrusted silver star, which he dedicated to the people of his home city.
"I see this as recognition of the people of New York who have overcome the worst attack in American history," he said.
Asked if he thought anybody would call him "Sir Rudy", a title he is not entitled to use as an honorary knight, Giuliani said, "They won't call me that in Brooklyn."
He can put the initials KBE (Knight of the British Empire) after his name.
During his two-day visit, Giuliani will attend a photographic auction at the Royal Academy of Arts in aid of the Twin Towers Fund, and attend a dinner held by flamboyant British businessman Sir Richard Branson.
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