Bono to Receive Honorary Knighthood

Although he has never served in the military, has never pulled a sword from a stone, and does not wear armor, Bono is being made a knight.

Irish rocker and humanitarian Bono will become a knight of the British empire — but the U2 frontman won’t be called “Sir.” Britain confirmed Saturday Bono 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.

Paul David Hewson (Bono) talking to canadian finance minister Paul Martin 2000 in Prague.  PHOTO A spokesman said the 46-year-old 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 nations 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 Africa.”

I suppose twenty years of campaigning for better awareness of the plight of Africans is more than others have done for knighthoods, although it still strikes me as strange to confer military honors on civilians for non-heroic acts.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. kenny says:

    military honors on civilians

    Uh a knighthood isn’t and never was a military honour.

    A Knighthood is a gift from the Crown for meritorious behaviour in any field.

  2. Wickedpinto says:

    I was gonna say something like that Kenny. I mean Paul? Ian Macclellan? Sean Connery, who in fact defies the monarchy, and the inclusion of scottland in the UK under England.

    Also KOTBE Rudy Giulliani.

    I just wish that KOTBE, if he’s even that, Bono had “accomplished” more than scamming nations with whiny emo-rock into spreading poverty, while bankrupting themselves.

  3. kenny says:

    Sean Connery, who in fact defies the monarchy, and the inclusion of scottland in the UK under England.

    Actually as long as Sir Sean doesn’t campaign for scotland to become a [shudder] republic
    [/shudder]then HMQ has no problems with him wanting scotland to become an independent nation.

    It’s happened before (1603-1707) and if it happens again then the monarchy will adapt.

  4. James Joyner says:

    I realize that awarding knighthoods for civic accomplishments has longstanding roots. Still, it was traditionally a military designation–a knight is, after all, a soldier–and soldiers are still awarded knighthoods. “General Sir” and all that.