Bloomberg receives honorary British knighthood
Former New York mayor and philanthropist billionaire Michael Bloomberg was granted an honorary knighthood from Britain on Monday.
The 72-year-old tycoon is one of the richest men in America and was honored for his "prodigious entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors, and the many ways" in which they have benefitted British-US relations.
Bloomberg, who founded the successful news and financial data company Bloomberg PLC and served as New York mayor for a record 12 years until January 2014, is well known for his love of Britain.
He made London the European headquarters of his company, has spent millions on supporting the arts and education in Britain and has a close relationship with colorful London mayor Boris Johnson.
As an American, Bloomberg is not entitled to call himself Sir Mike but can add the initials KBE, an abbreviation for Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, to the end of his name.
Accepting the honor, Bloomberg said he had long considered Britain his "second home."
"I am deeply honored to receive this recognition, which is especially meaningful to me because of my close personal, business, and philanthropic ties to London and Britain," he said.
"It has been a great privilege to work with British leaders on a wide variety of issues, and to invest -- commercially, culturally, and civically -- in the future of Britain."
British ambassador to Washington, Peter Westmacott, said on Twitter that the honorary knighthood was "richly deserved!"
"As mayor of New York, as a businessman, and as a philanthropist, Mike Bloomberg has played a key role in forging transatlantic diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties," he said afterward.
Bloomberg, number 14 on the Forbes global rich list, is worth an estimated $34 billion.
Other figures to have received an honorary knighthood include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the late US senator Ted Kennedy and anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof.
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie was made an honorary dame in June.
© 2014 AFP