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  • Winston Churchill
    Winston Churchill

Honorary Freedom is the highest honour the City of London can bestow.

Honorary Freemen do not apply for but are invited by the Court of Common Council to take the Freedom. The presentation ceremony usually takes place in the Great Hall of the Guildhall before the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Common Councilmen and invited guests.

The presentation on these occasions is made by the Chamberlain of London and is usually followed by a Guildhall or Mansion House banquet.

Famous Honorary Freemen include:

  • Angela Burdett-Coutts
    (First woman to be awarded the honorary Freedom in 1872)
  • Winston Churchill
  • Princess Diana
  • Benjamin Disraeli
  • Dwight D Eisenhower
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi
  • Helmut Kohl
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Theodore Roosevelt

The City of London from time to time invites individuals who have made a significant impact in their field to take up the Freedom to acknowledge their particular contribution. This category includes diplomats, clergy, actors, musicians and sportsmen. Recent recipients have included:

  • Fiona Bruce
  • Peter Ackroyd
  • Michael Caine
  • Joan Collins
  • Dame Judi Dench
  • Placido Domingo
  • Stephen Fry
  • Bob Geldof
  • Annie Lennox
  • Damian Lewis
  • Ian McKellen
  • Luciano Pavarotti
  • JK Rowling
  • Mary Berry
  • Eddie Redmayne