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Queen honours NY's Giuliani

Giuliani holds his honorary award of a KBE outside Buckingham Palace
Giuliani holds his honorary award of a KBE outside Buckingham Palace  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his work following the September 11 terror attacks.

Giuliani received the award at Buckingham Palace in London in recognition of his work with the families of the estimated 2,800 people who died in New York.

"I was receiving it not on behalf of myself, but all the police officers and firefighters and rescue workers, heroic people of New York," he said.

"It means to me recognition for a group of people that went through the worst attack on their country ever and came through it stronger ... and I'm just honoured to be their representative," Giuliani said after the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II bestows honorary knighthood upon former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. CNN's Walter Rodgers reports (February 13)

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While Britain and the United States have always prided hemselves on a "special relationship," Giuliani was not afforded all the pomp and circumstance that any full-blown British knight would expect.

The queen handed him two medals during the ceremony, but he missed out on the formal practice of kneeling in front of the monarch before being knighted with the tap of a sword on each shoulder and commanded to "arise."

Giuliani will also not be able to call himself "Sir Rudolph," however, as he is not a British citizen, but he can put the initials KBE (Knight of the British Empire) after his name.

He joked with reporters that the title wouldn't stick in parts of New York, anyway.

"There are places in Manhattan where they would call me 'Sir Rudy' ... but in Brooklyn, if I started calling myself 'Sir Rudy' they'd say 'hey ... knock that off or we'll knock it off you,' " he joked.

'Churchill my hero'

Before he left the U.S., Giuliani spoke of his "great hero" -- British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who pulled Britain from the rubble of Nazi bombing and guided the nation to victory in World War II.

"Part of the reason why I feel so emotional about this honour, which I feel is an honour for my entire city not just for me, is because the people of Britain and the people of London in particular were a source of strength for me," Giuliani told the BBC.

"The first thing that came to mind was how the people of London and the people of Britain dealt with the Battle of Britain and how they were able to withstand being bombed and ... were able to go on with their lives."

Giuliani, left, receives his honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II
Giuliani, left, receives his honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II  

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph newspaper he said: "Winston Churchill is my great hero. I modelld myself on him. He helped me a lot before, during and after (the attacks).

"I read his biographies as a student and young man ... I used Churchill to teach me how to reinvigorate the spirit of a dying nation, and after the attack I'd talk to him."

UK Home Secretary David Blunkett and London police chief Sir John Stevens have also both arranged meetings with Giuliani, eager to learn how he achieved New York's steepest drop in crime in 30 years.

The figures are in stark contrast to life in the British capital, where street crime is rising, and January alone saw 26 murders.

Apart from meeting the queen, Giuliani said the highlight of his trip would be watching the weekly prime minister's questions in parliament.

During his two-day visit, Giuliani will also attend a photographic auction at the Royal Academy of Arts in aid of the Twin Towers Fund, and attend a dinner held by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.


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