03/04/2009 AT 12:05 PM EST
He needn't officially be called "Sir," but Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts is to be given an honorary knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office has confirmed.
Kennedy, 77, is being recognized for services to U.S.-U.K. relations and to Northern Ireland, the Associated Press reports.
Kennedy, who is currently under treatment
for a brain tumor diagnosed
last May, has had strong ties to the U.K. that go back to his youth.
His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, briefly served as Ambassador to the Court of St. James under President Franklin Roosevelt. And the administration of his brother, John F. Kennedy, was nicknamed "Camelot," after England's King Arthur.
– Stephen M. Silverman