Belfast-born, Oscar nominated actor and director Kenneth Branagh got smacked with a wand by Queen Elizabeth in London last week – but it was all for the good, as Branagh was made a knight.

It’s been a busy year for Branagh, 51, who spent the first nine years of his life in Northern Ireland. He’s currently directing Jack Ryan, starring Kevin Costner and Chris Pine – fans will fondly remember the Ryan character from writer Tom Clancy’s earlier works like Patriot Games and The Hunt for Red October.

Branagh was knighted for contributions to drama and to charitable causes in Northern Ireland.

"I'm so very pleased this has happened in the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics,” Branagh said afterwards.

"It is special because it is to do with my roots in Northern Ireland and to do with a lot of work other people do and I'm happy to be associated with, lots of charitable institutions and real hard work on the part of a lot of people over there.

"I'm pleased the link with Northern Ireland is recognized. I'm very proud of coming from there."

Kenneth Branagh gets knighted by Queen Elizabeth in London last week.© Lewis Whyld/PA Wire