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BBC Scotland's Bob Wyllie reports
Over 200 Scots honoured
 real 28k

Friday, 31 December, 1999, 18:00 GMT
Bond, Sir James Bond

Sean Connery Sean Connery's knighthood has delighted Scottish nationalists

James Bond star Sean Connery is awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours List - an award Scottish nationalists believe he should have received long ago.

Mr Connery, made famous as 007 master spy James Bond, is to be honoured for services to film drama.

The star of stage and screen has never been shy about his belief in an independent Scotland.

Connery as James Bond Mr Connery became famous as James Bond
The 69-year-old is a card-carrying member of the Scottish National Party and donates 4,800 a month to party coffers.

Conspiracy theorists believe the Edinburgh-born actor was snubbed in the 1997 and 1998 honours because of his political allegiances.

Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar, it is rumoured, vetoed Mr Connery's knighthood in December 1997.

At the time, the veteran actor said he was "deeply disappointed but strangely not angry or greatly surprised".

'Proud Scotland'

On Thursday, he said he was happy to receive the honour.

He said: "I accept with pleasure because I consider it as much an honour for Scotland as it is for me."

Sean Connery is a superb ambassador for Scotland
Alex Salmond
SNP leader Alex Salmond was the first to congratulate the star.

He said: "The whole of Scotland is proud of him today.

"Sean Connery is a superb ambassador for Scotland, tireless in promoting his country and in working for its success.

"This recognition at last puts right the wrong done to him two years ago."

As a child, Mr Connery lived in a four-storey tenement in Edinburgh's Fountainbridge and once worked as a milkman on a horse-drawn float.

connery Mr Connery with wife Micheline
He is fiercely proud of his Scottish background. One of the two tattoos he got during a three-year stint in the Royal Navy says "Scotland Forever".

And while he was a towering figure in the world of films, his love of his home country remained true.

At the opening of the Scottish Parliament, Mr Connery - who lives mainly in Marbella, Spain, with his French-Moroccan second wife Micheline Roquebrune - received a rapturous reception and declared the day the "most important of his life".

He turned up in full highland dress to the delight of the crowds outside the Edinburgh parliament building.

Glittering career

A proud Mr Connery said at the time: "Today is a momentous day for Scotland. We've waited 300 years for this, and it can't be more momentous than that."

Since the early 1970s his love for Scotland has manifested itself in projects such as the Scottish International Education Trust, an organisation dedicated to helping young Scots obtain an education.

His move into acting came after his time in the navy and after working as a labourer and a lifeguard.

His film career, which spans more than 30 years, includes Dr No, Goldfinger, The Name of the Rose, First Knight, Hunt for Red October and Highlander.

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