Rocker Rod Stewart honored as UK Queen's 90th birthday celebrations start
By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran Scottish rocker Rod Stewart received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth's birthday honors list on Friday as a weekend of events was launched to mark the official 90th birthday of Britain's oldest and longest-reigning monarch.
Known for hits such as "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" and "Maggie May", Stewart was among more than 1,000 people to receive awards in the annual list which recognizes Britons from famous celebrities to community charity workers.
The queen herself was honored earlier on Friday at a National Service of Thanksgiving at London's St Paul's Cathedral, attended by dignitaries including Prime Minister David Cameron and all the senior royals.
In a ceremony laden with the pageantry that accompanies significant royal events, the monarch was greeted by a trumpet fanfare while the entrance to the cathedral was flanked by her Bodyguard of the Yeoman of the Guard, veteran soldiers dressed in scarlet uniforms.
It was a double celebration for the royals, with the occasion falling on the same day as the 95th birthday of Prince Philip, the queen's husband of 68 years.
"Your Majesty, today we rejoice for the way in which God's loving care has fearfully and wonderfully sustained you, as well as Prince Philip marking his 95th birthday today," Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion said in his sermon.
He said the country looked back at her decades of service to the nation, through war, hardship, turmoil and change, with deep wonder and gratitude.
The queen, who has been on the throne for 64 years, turned 90 in April but in keeping with a tradition dating back to 1748, she also has an official birthday, usually in June, to ensure celebrations take place when the weather is likely to be better. Continued...