Kenneth Branagh Knighted

The Belfast-born thespian receives honour at Buckingham Palace for his 'services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland'

Kenneth Brannagh, the multi-talented actor, writer, director and producer who was born in Belfast in 1960, has received a knighthood for his 'services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland'.

The five time Oscar-nominated actor accepted the honour at Buckingham Palace from the Queen, who first saw Branagh perform as a 19-year-old RADA student in the lead role of Hamlet in 1980.

Speaking to the assembled press following his investiture, Branagh said: 'I'm so very pleased this has happened in the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics. It's been a hell of a year for the UK and I feel very honoured to be a tiny part of it.'

Kenneth Branagh knighted

Branagh, who moved to England when he was 9-years of age and went on to become an acclaimed advocate of Shakespearan theatre and cinema, is currently honourary president of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).

'[NICVA] is special because it is to do with my roots in Northern Ireland and to do with a lot of work other people do,' Branagh added. 'I'm happy to be associated with lots of charitable institutions and real hard work on the part of a lot of people over there. I'm pleased the link with Northern Ireland is recognised. I'm very proud of coming from there.'

Branagh was back in Belfast in 2011 to star alongside Welsh actor and comedian Rob Brydon at the Lyric Theatre in a production of The Painkiller, which received rave reviews at the time. Branagh also starred as the English engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the Danny Boyle-directed Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games.