Actor/writer/director and all round renaissance-man Kenneth Branagh received his knighthood today at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II, having been told of his accolade following the announcement of Queen's birthday honours in June this year.

Sir Kenneth, who is perhaps best known for his Shakespearean roles both in front and behind the camera, also played a part in this year's Olympic opening ceremony, donning the trademark stove-pipe hat as he played Britain's most famous industrialist Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the start of Danny Boyle's breathtaking spectacle.

Branagh was not the only person honoured in the Birthday list from the entertainment industry, with X Factor judge and Diamond Jubilee organiser Gary Barlow recognised with an OBE for his services to the entertainment industry and to charity. Comedy writer Armando Iannucci, known for his work on sitcoms such asĀ The Thick Of It and I'm Alan Partridge, was also given an OBE in the honours.

Today's ceremony marked a second meeting with the Queen for Kenneth, who was born in Belfast but raised in Reading, having first performed Hamlet in front of the Queen some thirty years ago when he was a 19-year-old drama student. Safe to say, he has come a long way since then.