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Gates Gets Knighted

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Jan 26, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
UNITED KINGDOM – Microsoft brainchild Bill Gates has been given the royal nod from Queen Elizabeth II and will soon receive honorary knighthood, the foreign office announced Monday.

In acknowledgement of all Gates has done for the British business economy, education, and IT development, the chairman of Microsoft Corp. will be given the royal title of 'Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.'

The foreign office said in a statement: "The honorary KBE is in recognition of his outstanding contribution to enterprise, employment, education and the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom. He [Gates] has also made significant contributions to poverty reduction in parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the developing world."

Since Gates is not a British citizen, he will not be given the "Sir" title that typically distinguishes a royal knight inductee, and instead he will be able to use the letter 'KBE' after his name.

The KBE title is reportedly one of the more common forms of knighthood given by the Queen and is very often awarded to civilians for accomplishments that have somehow benefited the United Kingdom.

The KBE ceremony is a different knighting process than is done for British knights. Gates will not be asked to bow to the Queen and he will not be tapped on his shoulder with a sword.

Rolling Stones' lead singer Mick Jagger is among the many Brits who have been knighted by the Queen for outstanding accomplishments. Other Americans who share the KBE title include Rudy Giuliani, Steven Spielberg, the Reverend Billy Graham, Alan Greenspan, and George Bush Senior.

Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 with a friend. He is considered the wealthiest man in the world.

The ceremony date has not yet been scheduled, the foreign office said, but it will be a "mutually convenient" date for Gates and the royals. The knighting of Gates is also in acknowledgement of his donations to developing nations.

Gates made a recent appearance at the World Economic Forum where he pledged that spam will be obliterated by the year 2006.

Microsoft is reportedly on the verge of offering several anti-spam solutions, one of which would identify the sender of an email by requiring them to solve a computation puzzle that only a human can answer.

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