Former prime minister Tony Blair is to be knighted with the highest possible ranking, Buckingham Palace has said, in an announcement that coincides with the New Year Honours List.
Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, is appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.
The appointment, which is made by the Queen, has regularly been bestowed upon past prime ministers, with Sir John Major, Sir Tony’s predecessor, the last to receive the honour.
Sir Tony, a former Labour leader, said: “It is an immense honour to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen.
“It was a great privilege to serve as prime minister and I would like to thank all those who served alongside me, in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country.”
Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory in 1997, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister.
The 68-year-old famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the “people’s princess” after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former barrister became a Middle East envoy and set up his own non-for-profit group, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, after leaving politics.
Each year, Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony.
Read more: Cult-owned Queen makes Cult-owned Tony Blair a knight and member of the Order of the Garter (it helps to keep his stockings up) – his knighthood is for services to the Cult, genetic mendacity, war criminality and mass murder of the innocent