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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 15:04 GMT
Knighthood for bank governor
Sir  Edward George and his wife Lady George
Sir Edward George honoured with his wife Lady George
The governor of the Bank of England, Edward George, has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The 62-year-old is only the third governor of the Bank of England to be knighted in the past 100 years, following in the footsteps of Sir Walter Cunliffe in 1917 and Sir Leslie O'Brien in 1967.

Sir Edward was dubbed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for services to the economy.

He had been named in the Queen's birthday honours.

We're always keeping our fingers crossed and are fairly nervous because no one really knows what the future holds

Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Edward George
Speaking at the palace after the ceremony, Sir Edward said the Queen had asked him: "How is it all going?" to which he replied: "Not too badly Your Majesty.

"We're always keeping our fingers crossed and are fairly nervous because no-one really knows what the future holds."

Peerages are customarily granted to governors upon their retirement, rather than while they hold office.

Sense of humour

But Sir Edward's accolade matches the honour given to his former deputy Sir Howard Davies who is now chairman of the new Financial Services Authority.

Sir Edward said: "I think the knighthood is for long service at the bank - I started from university."

The governor has a busy week ahead. On Thursday the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee meets to consider interest rates.

Sir Edward said: "I'm very conscious of the impact any change in interest rates has on people."

Powerful economist

In his role as head of the independent committee, he is one of Britain's most powerful economists, with influence over the cost of mortgages and overdrafts.

Christened Edward Alan John George, he studied at Dulwich College, south London, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he gained a second in economics.

Famously, he once told a conference that there were three types of economist - those who could add up and those who could not.

It was a joke apparently lost on one delegate who asked what the third category was.

IMF role

He joined the Bank of England in 1962, working at first on East European affairs.

He was later seconded to the Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund.

In 1993 he was appointed governor of the Bank of England, and last year he was made a privy counsellor.

Sir Edward is married - his wife Vanessa is now Lady George - with a son and two daughters, and lists his interests in Who's Who as family, sailing and bridge.

Family celebration

It was a family celebration at the Palace as Sir Edward's brother-in-law collected an OBE.

Hugh Williams was honoured for services to the environment and to wealth creation from science and technology.

Actress Josette Simon was also awarded an OBE at Tuesday's investiture ceremony for services to drama.

And John Sheldon, general secretary of Britain's biggest civil service union the Public and Commercial Services Union, received an OBE for his work in trades unionism.

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See also:

22 Nov 00 | Business
Who's Who at the MPC
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