Queen Elizabeth II Granted 27 Americans Honorary Knighthoods in Her Reign

Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday afternoon at the age of 96, ending an era of the longest reigning monarch in Britain, and leaving behind memorable moments in history, including ones where she granted many Americans honorary knighthoods.

Buckingham Palace confirmed her death in a statement that read: "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow." Her death comes over a year after her husband Prince Philip passed away.

The queen dedicated her life to public service and was the head of the Commonwealth, composed of 54 countries predominantly from Britain's former empire.

She granted honorary knighthoods, the only award that non-British citizens are eligible for, to those who contributed to science, fashion, military service and arts, among other fields. Here are the over a dozen Americans who were knighted by the queen throughout her reign which began after her coronation in 1953.

 Queen Elizabeth Granted X Americans honorary Knighthood
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II presents Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates with his honorary knighthood watched by his wife Melinda Gates on March 2, 2005, at Buckingham Palace in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday afternoon at the age of 96, ending an era of the longest reigning monarch in Britain, and leaving behind memorable moments in history including ones where she granted many Americans honorary knighthoods. Photo by Chris Young/ROTA/Getty Images

Bill Gates & Melinda Gates

The co-founder of Microsoft and his wife both received the honorary title.

Bill was honored in 2005 for his contribution to enterprise in Britain and for his humanitarian works around the world, while his wife received the honorary dame title in 2014 for her charitable work efforts, according to The Guardian.

Angelina Jolie

The prominent actress was titled an honorary dame for her humanitarian work and her campaign efforts to end war zone sexual violence, according to the BBC.

"To receive an honor related to foreign policy means a great deal to me, as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to," Jolie told the BBC at the time. "Working on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and with survivors of rape is an honour in itself. I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime, and I am dedicated to it for all of mine."

Ralph Lauren

Prince Charles presented, in 2019, the honorary knighthood to fashion icon Ralph Lauren, who became the first American designer to receive the title, according to The Guardian.

Steven Spielberg

The famous film director was honored knighthood in 2001, according to ABC News, for contributing to the entertainment industry and the British film industry.

Michael Bloomberg

The prominent businessman and former New York City mayor was titled honorary knight by the queen in 2014 for contributing to philanthropy and entrepreneurship, according to The Telegraph.

Kevin Spacey

Prince Charles awarded the honorary knight title to the actor in 2016 for his contribution to British theater, arts, and international culture, according to The Daily Mail.

George H. W. Bush

The former U.S. president was titled Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath in 1993, the highest honorary rank a non-British citizen can receive, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Ronald Reagan

Like Bush, the former president was also granted the same honorary title in 1989.

Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump's ally and former New York City mayor was knighted by the queen in 2001 for helping support British families in New York, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Alan Greenspan

The former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman was knighted in 2002 for contributing to global economic stability, CNN reported.

Walter Annenberg

The former U.S. ambassador to Britain was knighted in 1976 for his work in the country.

The friendly relationship between the Annenbergs and the royal family has lasted for decades, according to the Desert Sun.

Billy Graham

The American Evangelist received the title in 2011 for contributing to civic life and religion for over 60 years, according to The Telegraph.

James Watson

The Chicago native and scientist who is one of the scientists who discovered the DNA structure was honored knighthood in 2002 for his commitment to science, according to Science.org.

Ted Kennedy

The queen gave the title to the former senator in 2009 for helping spread peace in Northern Ireland, expanding health care for Americans, and making education more accessible for children globally, according to CBS News.

Who Else?

Others who received the title, according to Stars Insider, include comedian Henry Winkler, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, late U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, pianist and conductor Andre Previn, and actor Bob Hope.

Additionally, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell received the title for his military contribution, while former CEO of Pearson Marjorie Scardino was awarded an honorary knighthood for contributing to the media.

Conductor Eugene Ormandy, pianist Murray Perahia, Russian-American cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, actor Sidney Poitier, and investment banker James Wolfensohn were all honored knighthood during the queen's reign.