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The British actor said he was pleased to be honored in the year of the queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. He said that "it's been a hell of a year for the U.K. and I feel very honored to be a tiny part of it."

Belfast-born Branagh was knighted at a Buckingham Palace ceremony Friday for services to drama and for his charity work in Northern Ireland.

Best known as a Shakespearean actor and as TV detective "Wallander," Branagh joins the pantheon of theatrical knights alongside the late Sir Laurence Olivier - whom Branagh played in "My Week With Marilyn."

He has also directed films including "Henry V."