The toast of London

Sir Rudy: He can't call himself that officially because he's not British, but that won't stop us.

February 15, 2002

THE MAN who led New York through its darkest hours now becomes a knight of the British Empire.

Taking the Mother Country by storm this week, Rudolph Giuliani, "lately mayor of New York," got his new title Wednesday from Queen Elizabeth II.

The ceremony provided another glimpse of a politician's metamorphosis, proof again that in politics a few hours can be a lifetime. Thought of before the attack as a somewhat edgy and authoritarian leader, Mr. Giuliani became the resilient and empathetic symbol of a city and nation that refused to buckle after the twin towers attack.

He accepted his latest honor with grace and good humor, then he was off to observe the House of Commons in session. There, under the rules, he couldn't even be officially recognized as Rudolph Giuliani, citizen of the U.S.A.

In Parliament and throughout London, of course, he has the kind of name recognition -- and admiration -- of which politicians can only dream.

All hail Sir Rudy, knight of Manhattan and all its boroughs.

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