Senator Edward Kennedy, patriarch of one of America's most fabled political families, has been awarded a honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth, the British government said on Tuesday.
The award, in recognition of Kennedy's service to the U.S.-UK relationship and to Northern Ireland, comes as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visits Washington to meet with President Barack Obama and address the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.
Kennedy, a leading Democratic liberal voice in the Senate for decades, has brain cancer and has spent little time in Washington this year. He underwent surgery last year to remove a malignant tumor and suffered a seizure on January 21 at Obama's inauguration luncheon.
Kennedy, who turned 77 on February 22, has been the leader of one of America's most prominent political families since the assassinations of brothers President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.
Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1962.
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