In a first for the elder royal son, Prince William took on his first formal knighthood ceremony Thursday, filling in for Queen Elizabeth II at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in London.
The prince is second in line to the throne. The leadership role at the honors ceremony is one of the monarchy's most historic duties — bestowing medals, titles and honors on the citizenry with the impressive palace ballroom as a backdrop.
Among those honored, USA Today reported: British tennis star Andy Murray with an Order of the British Empire medal.
The queen or Prince Charles, William's father, usually conducts the honors ceremonies, which take place up to 25 times during the course of a year, USA Today said. But William has been taking a more active role in royal duties lately on the heels of active military service as a helicopter pilot in the RAF and as his grandmother continues to suffer from various physical ailments.
Of all the honors, the knighthood ceremony is perhaps the most watched. It's a throwback to the era of knights and chivalry, and the bestowing of the honor hasn't changed much through the years: Recipients kneel on an investiture stool while the royal taps each shoulder with a sword — in this case, one that once belonged to George VI, the queen's father.
The British press reported that the prince actually practiced pinning medals on chests and gently dubbing shoulders with the sword before the event.
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