Irish rock star and global humanitarian Bono became a knight of the British empire Thursday just don't call him 'sir'. "You have permission to call me anything you want except sir, all right? Lord of lords, your demigodness, that'll do," Bono, 46, told reporters after he was crowned a "Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" in a jokey, informal ceremony in the Dublin home of British Ambassador David Reddaway.
Reddaway paid tribute to Bono's work as a savvy campaigner against poverty and disease in Africa but first asked whether Bono was disappointed that becoming a knight no longer involved a sword or kneeling.
"Please, I wasn't expecting you to kneel," Bono deadpanned, his hand on the ambassador's shoulder.
Accompanying Bono were his wife Ali, their four children Jordan, 17, Eve, 15, Elijah, 7, and John, 5 and two others from Bono's band U2: guitarist The Edge and bassist Adam Clayton, who unlike the other U2 members is English-born and retains British citizenship.
Bono has been criticised in some Irish nationalist quarters for accepting a British honour. But the Dublin-born singer, whose real name is Paul Hewson, dismissed this as ridiculous given the unprecedentedly warm relations today between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. "I think Great Britain is great," Bono said.
"And Irish people support British football teams. And Irish bands sign British record labels. And Irish people speak English. And we even have one (Englishman) in our band."