LONDON — Former President George Bush, a Texas Yankee in Queen Elizabeth's court, was knighted at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
Bush joined a select group of American presidents, all Republicans, who have been knighted.
Because he's an American, he didn't have to kneel like an English knight. For the same reason, he is not entitled to call himself "Sir."
Like Ronald Reagan, Bush was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath--or GCB--the highest honorary rank Britain can give a foreigner.
Dwight D. Eisenhower already had his knighthood when he moved into the White House in 1952. Eisenhower was honored during World War II when he was running the Allied campaign against Adolf Hitler.
The government, which had not bestowed this rank on an American since the war, dusted it off in 1989 for Reagan, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's conservative soul mate.
The government may decide whom to honor, but the queen does the entertaining.
Tuesday's low-key ceremony was a private lunch at the palace, with no pomp at all and very little visible circumstance.
The table talk was top secret and the menu strictly confidential. Bush was not wearing his new insignia and the broad ribbon of crimson silk that goes with the knighthood. A chat with the press and a display of his medal was not in order because it was a private visit, the palace said.