This engaging story from the AP out of London…
There’s an especially starry knight in Britain’s latest round of royal honors.
Patrick Stewart — “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Capt. Jean-Luc Picard — becomes Sir Patrick in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year honors list, which also includes a knighthood for theater and film director Nicholas Hytner.
“This is an honor that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun,” said 69-year-old Stewart, who recently returned to the British stage following a long career in Hollywood that included playing Professor Charles Xavier in three “X-Men” films.
A separate honors list in New Zealand bestowed a knighthood on the king of Middle-earth — “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker Peter Jackson.
Jackson, 53, was knighted in New Zealand, his native land and the filming location for the trilogy, which collected 17 Academy Awards.
The New Zealand award is approved by the queen, the country’s head of state.
Jackson is currently is working on the two-movie prequel “The Hobbit,” also based on a book by J.R.R. Tolkien, with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.
PHOTOS: Patrick Stewart and fellow knight Ian McKellan as they appeared with some computer-assisted anti-aging in ”X-Men: The Last Stand” (Lola Visual Effects/20th Century Fox) Peter Jackson in 2009 (Marty Melville/Getty Images).