Did you know that Damian Lewis received the Freedom of the City of London honour in recognition of his achievements as an actor in March 2013?
Freedom of the City of London is one of the oldest surviving traditions still in existence today. It is believed that the first Freedom was granted in 1237. According to Wikipedia, being a “free man” in old times came with certain privileges, varying from the right to drive sheep and cattle over London Bridge to carrying a naked sword in public.
BBC reports that Damian mourns these “privileges” are today effectively symbolic: “I’ve got a flock in my garden in Tufnell Park but I wasn’t allowed to bring them down.”
Just for your information, Damian, in case you fancy a walk with your flock over the London Bridge — ask Stephen Fry who has liberally used his privileges!
See Damian Lewis talking very graciously about his award here!
He also gives some family history: “My grandfather was a Haberdasher, one of the Great Twelve Guilds, and I trained at Guildhall in the Square Mile. For over 700 years, merchants, financiers and actors – to name but a few – have lived and worked here ‘cheek by jowl’ and this illustrates just what diversity there is in the City of London. I’m very, very proud to be associated with it, and to be recognised in this way.”
Freedom of the City of London today is a recognition of lifetime achievement or international standing. And, it may be completely symbolic in terms of the privileges provided, BUT it should feel great to receive such an honor from “your city” which you think is the “greatest city in the world!”
For more information on Freedom of the City of London tradition and ceremony, please check the City of London webpage here.