Irish rocker and humanitarian Bono will become a knight of the British
empire — but the U2 frontman won’t be called “Sir.” Bono, 46, will
receive his honorary knighthood from the British ambassador to Ireland,
David Reddaway, in a Dublin ceremony shortly after New Year’s Day.
The Dubliner, whose real name is Paul Hewson, won’t be
entitled to use the title “Sir” because he is not a national of Britain
or the Commonwealth of former British colonies. A spokesperson said the
singer was flattered by the honor and hoped it will help him open
diplomatic doors in his campaign for more western aid to Africa.
In a letter to Bono released Saturday, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair said the singer’s lobbying had forced wealthy countries to
focus on increasing aid to Africa.
“I know from talking to you how much these causes matter to
you,” Blair wrote. “I know as well how knowledgeable you are about the
problems we face and how determined you are to do all you can to help
overcome them. You have tirelessly used your voice to speak up for
Blair said he hoped to keep working with Bono “to work
together to maintain momentum on Africa, and ensure leaders around the
world meet the promises they have made.” The British Embassy in Dublin
said the Irish government approved granting Bono the title. The issue
is diplomatically sensitive, because Irish officials are legally barred
from receiving British royal honors and other Irish nationals have
refused nominations on political grounds. Ireland withdrew from the
Commonwealth in 1949.