Entertainment Celebrity Billy Connolly knighted by Prince William ahead of 75th birthday
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Billy Connolly knighted by Prince William ahead of 75th birthday

Billy Connolly Pamela Stephenson
Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson attended the official ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA
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Irreverent comedian and actor Billy Connolly has been knighted by Prince William just weeks before his 75th birthday.

Connolly was honoured in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace for his services to entertainment and charity.

After receiving his knighthood, the Scottish comic said he was “stunned” by the tribute.

“I’m kind of numb. It means a great deal to the people around me, and the fans,” he said.

“I was at the football last week and I was amazed at the reception I got from the other supporters. It seems to mean a great deal to them, which is lovely.”

Asked what he chatted to Prince William about, Connolly was quoted by the BBC as saying: “Just, am I still funny? It was lovely. It was kind of personal.”

Billy Connolly Prince William
The veteran comedian asked William if he was still funny. Photo: PA

Connolly has been known as much for his social commentary as his humour and could not resist commenting on the sexual harassment scandal engulfing Hollywood.

“I think the air is going to be cleared and a lot of things that should have been done years ago are going to be done to protect young men and women,” Connolly was quoted by The Sun newspaper as saying.

“I think that’s going to spread to government, to industry, to university, to all sorts of realms, anywhere power is exercised over the powerless.

“Men will have to get a grip on themselves.”

Connolly has had a successful movie career with roles in such films as  Mrs Brown, Brave, A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 after an Australian fan who happened to be a doctor spotted him in a hotel lobby and advised him to seek medical advice for his “strange gait”.

“He said, ‘I’m a surgeon and I have been watching you walking, you have a strange gait’,” Connolly told a US radio show after his diagnosis.

“He said ‘You’re showing distinct signs of early onset Parkinson’s disease, see your doctor’.”

Just hours after Connolly was diagnosed with the degenerative disease he was told he had prostate cancer. He received treatment for the cancer soon after and was given the all-clear later that year.

In an April 2016 interview, the comedian admitted he’d had suicidal thoughts since the Parkinson’s diagnosis.

– With agencies

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