Sir Patrick Stewart honoured the memory of a former teacher who set him on the path to acting as he was knighted by the Queen.
The star of stage and screen said English teacher Cecil Dormand had encouraged him to perform and cast him in his play with adults.
When asked what had sparked his interest in acting, Sir Patrick replied: “When I leave here I will be going to a luncheon that has been arranged and sitting on my right will be a man called Cecil Dormand who was my English teacher when I was a child.
“Although many people in my life and career have had great influence on me, without this one man, none of it would have happened.
“He was the one who said when I was leaving the secondary modern, ‘have you ever thought of doing this as a profession?’ I owe literally everything to this man.”
Sir Patrick, 69, who looked smart in a dark suit, said of the knighthood: “It was an unlooked-for honour, but as I grew up as a child, falling in love with the theatre and Shakespeare, my heroes were Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Alec Guinness.
“The knights of the theatre represented to me not only the pinnacle of the profession, but the esteem in which the profession was held.
“And now to find myself, to my astonishment, in that company is the grandest thing that has professionally happened to me.”