Actor and explorer Michael Palin receives his knighthood

Actor and explorer Michael Palin receives his knighthood

Sir Michael Palin managed to suppress a joke when collecting the 'unbelievable' honour of a knighthood from the Duke of Cambridge for his post-Monty P

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Sir Michael Palin managed to suppress a joke when collecting the ‘unbelievable’ honour of a knighthood from the Duke of Cambridge for his post-Monty Python career.

The writer and broadcaster was dubbed a knight by William for services to travel, culture and geography, making him the first star of the sketch show to receive the honour.

The investiture ceremony was also attended by Vernon Unsworth, one of the divers who aided in the perilous rescue of a young football team trapped in a Thai cave.  

Sir Michael, 76, was today knighted by the Duke of Cambridge for services to travel, culture and geography following his successful second career as a travel writer and TV presenter

Sir Michael, 76, was today knighted by the Duke of Cambridge for services to travel, culture and geography following his successful second career as a travel writer and TV presenter

Sir Michael, 76, was today knighted by the Duke of Cambridge for services to travel, culture and geography following his successful second career as a travel writer and TV presenter

Sir Michael holding up the award certifying him as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Sir Michael holding up the award certifying him as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Sir Michael holding up the award certifying him as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Sir Michael and Prince William discussed travel, with Sir Michael resisting the temptation to crack a joke during the investiture at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. ‘He talked about where I was going next, any parts of the world I really wanted to go that I hadn’t already – to which I normally say Middlesbrough,’ the broadcaster said. 

Instead he went for the far-flung location of Kazakhstan.

So far, Sir Michael, 76, is the only Python to be knighted – but he said John Cleese has turned down the chance.

‘I think I’ll probably be the only one. John’s turned it down. I think so, yes. He’s rather mysterious about that,’ Sir Michael said.

It has not been confirmed that Cleese opted against becoming a knight, but he did refuse a CBE in 1996 and said it was a greater honour to have a lemur named after him than it would be receiving a knighthood or peerage.

Sir Michael acknowledged his honour was for his later work and praised others for recognising talents he was never aware of.

He praised the ‘rather wonderful’ experience of receiving an honour, which he said would have been ‘unbelievable’ to his younger self 50 years ago when the Pythons formed.

‘It’s very, very nice to be recognised,’ he added.

Vernon Unsworth was made  an MBE for his service to cave diving, Mr Unsworth described the experience as ‘very humbling and fantastic’.

Mr Unsworth, a financial consultant living in Walthamstow, north-west London, was among the team who helped save the 12 boys who became trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave network by a flash flood in June last year.

The investiture ceremony was also attended by Vernon Unsworth, one of the divers who aided in the perilous rescue of a young football team trapped in a Thai cave

The investiture ceremony was also attended by Vernon Unsworth, one of the divers who aided in the perilous rescue of a young football team trapped in a Thai cave

The investiture ceremony was also attended by Vernon Unsworth, one of the divers who aided in the perilous rescue of a young football team trapped in a Thai cave

Sir Michael (seen being presented with a medal in the ceremony) is best known for his role in the Monty Python sketches, alongside John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and the late Graham Chapman

Sir Michael (seen being presented with a medal in the ceremony) is best known for his role in the Monty Python sketches, alongside John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and the late Graham Chapman

Sir Michael today

Sir Michael today

Sir Michael (seen being presented with a medal in the ceremony) is best known for his role in the Monty Python sketches, alongside John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and the late Graham Chapman

The veteran actor paid tribute to his Monty Python co-stars and their relationship when he was named in the New Years Honours list

The veteran actor paid tribute to his Monty Python co-stars and their relationship when he was named in the New Years Honours list

The veteran actor paid tribute to his Monty Python co-stars and their relationship when he was named in the New Years Honours list

But the heroics led to an extraordinary feud with Elon Musk, over which he is suing the billionaire businessman for libel.

Mr Unsworth said the Tesla chief’s small submarine he touted for the rescue amounted to a ‘PR stunt, and Mr Musk retaliated by calling the diver a ‘pedo’ in a tweet.

Mr Unsworth, 64, said: ‘It doesn’t detract from today. I’ve really got to think about other people and give them the enjoyment they deserve. Today is about today and is not anything else.’

Captain Hannah Graf, who became the most senior transgender woman in the British Army after beginning her transition during a tour of Afghanistan, collected an MBE for her services to the LGBTQ community in the military.

The 32-year-old member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers praised the UK’s embracing of the trans community in the military – and took aim at Donald Trump’s ban in the US.

‘I think they (the US) should absolutely reconsider their position because there are hardworking, highly-skilled, highly-motivated people with deep integrity who are losing their jobs in the US military because of this archaic law.

In contrast, Capt Graf, originally from Cardiff, said William was ‘very supportive’ when discussing her experiences as well as his own of the transgender community in the RAF.

An undated photo of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Pictured left tor right (front row): Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones. BackL Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Terry Gillam

An undated photo of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Pictured left tor right (front row): Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones. BackL Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Terry Gillam

An undated photo of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Pictured left tor right (front row): Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones. BackL Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Terry Gillam

Mr Unsworth collects an MBE for service to cave diving, after he helped to rescue a football team of 12 young boys trapped in the Tham Luand Nang Non cave in Chang Rai, Thailand

Mr Unsworth collects an MBE for service to cave diving, after he helped to rescue a football team of 12 young boys trapped in the Tham Luand Nang Non cave in Chang Rai, Thailand

Mr Unsworth collects an MBE for service to cave diving, after he helped to rescue a football team of 12 young boys trapped in the Tham Luand Nang Non cave in Chang Rai, Thailand

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