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Kenneth Branagh Photo by: John Shearer / WireImage

Irish-born actor and director Kenneth Branagh to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth

\"Kenneth

Kenneth Branagh Photo by: John Shearer / WireImage

Belfast-born actor/director Kenneth Branagh is ready to say yes to a knighthood from the Queen, 18 years after he first turned it down.

Branagh, 51, said no to the award all those years ago because he didn’t feel worthy, being only in his mid-thirties, but now, after multiple Oscar nominations and BAFTA wins – not to mention a current starring role in one of the most watched shows on the BBC – he’s okay with being known as Sir Kenneth.

‘I was genuinely shocked when I got it.  At this stage in my life, my practice is, if people are kind enough to acknowledge what you do it seems polite to say, ‘Thank you very much,’” Branagh told the Daily Mail.

‘The business I am in, we are very lucky. At the end of every stage performance the audience all applaud me for doing my job, but I have friends who work in offices who don’t get that.”

Branagh, formerly married to fellow Oscar fave Emma Thompson, is one busy guy these days.  Best known for his Shakesperian roles, he’s currently getting ready to direct a new series of Jack Ryan films that will see Chris Pine take the role formerly occupied by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October) and Harrison Ford (Patriot Games).

Branagh is also currently starring in the popular BBC series Wallander, based on the books by Swedish novelist Henning Mankell. The show has won a bunch of prestigious awards, but Branagh is ready to give it up next year.

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