Colin Firth has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

The 51-year-old actor - who won an Oscar in 2011 for his portrayal of King George VI in 'The King's Speech - received the honour yesterday (08.03.12) in recognition of his award-winning career.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony in the capital, Colin told the BBC: ''London is my home and I'm hugely touched and honoured by this gesture.''

Colin - who has sons Luca and Matteo with wife Livia Giuggioli - joins former recipients author Rudyard Kipling and former prime ministers Benjamin Disraeli and Robert Peel as holders of the privilege.

The title is believed to have started in 1237 and used to allow the bearer perks such as being hanged with a silken rope if sentenced to death, or to be drunk and disorderly in the city without fear of arrest.

Colin's next project will see him star alongside Nicole Kidman in a 'The Railway Man' - a film based on the real-life experiences of Eric Lomax who was captured by the Japanese in the Second World War.