Billy Connolly can't resist a Parkinson's joke as he gets royal honour

Billy Connolly knighted with wife
Sir Billy Connolly with his wife Pamela Stephenson after being knighted. Source: Getty

Beloved comedian Billy Connolly was knighted by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Place, his wife Pamela Stephenson watching proudly on as the 74-year-old received one of Britain’s greatest honours from Prince William.

But the Scotsman couldn’t resist making a little self-deprecating joke about the Parkinson’s disease that he revealed in 2013 he had developed.

During the ceremony, knighthood recipients have to kneel in order to receive the honour.

“I sighed with relief when I saw the stool had a handle,” Connolly told The Sun, intimating that getting down and back up again may’ve been tricky for him. “It wouldn’t have crossed my mind before.”

That said, he added that he didn’t let Parkinson’s affect him more than absolutely necessary. 

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“What I do is ignore it completely and get on with my life,” Connolly said, saying he wasn’t entirely comfortable with being a ‘poster boy’ for the condition.


At today’s Investiture at Buckingham Palace, The Duke of Cambridge awarded Honours to deserving people from across the UK. Among today’s recipients was comedian Billy Connolly, who received a Knighthood or his services to entertainment and charity, Dame Stephanie Shirley was invested as a Companion of Honour for work in IT and philanthropy and Steven Davis, who captained the Northern Irish Football team through their first European Championships, received an MBE. A number of charity workers were also honoured today, including John Delaney and Robin Rush who both have undertaken huge physical challenges (such as cycling from London to Geneva) to raise huge amounts of money for a range of different causes. ?PA

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Although the new Sir Billy received his honour for his services to the charity and entertainment industries, he also took the opportunity to talk about something a little more serious.

In light of the latest sexual harassment scandals currently engulfing Hollywood, he had a curt message for men in the movie business.

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“Men will have to get a grip on themselves,” he told The Sun, adding that they needed to learn “things they should have known for years ago – manners”.

Connolly, who is known for being outspoken, said he was happy, though, that the issue was now in the open. 

“I think the air is going to be cleared and a lot of things that should have been done years ago are going to be done to protect young men and women,” he said. “I think that’s going to spread to government, to industry, to university, to all sorts of realms, anywhere power is exercised over the powerless.

Do you think Sir Billy has the right approach to dealing with a serious condition?