|Cover of The Italian Job|
Born Maurice Micklewhite in 1933, Sir Michael Caine CBE became a Freeman of the City of London on 8th March 2013.
Caine was born in Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, brought up South of the river, Southwark initially and after the war at Elephant & Castle living in a pre-fab bungalow which he considered the height of luxury. His father was a Fish Porter at Billingsgate. His comment at being made a Freeman of the City of London was - (sic) “It had taken him a long time to get to the other side of the river, but he’d finally made it!”
He is delighted and surprised at being honoured by the City, the ceremony took place the day before his birthday, at the Museum of London which is hosting an exhibition dedicated to him as the ‘Cockney Rebel’. The special service usually takes place at the Guildhall, but instead took place at the museum in the galleries showing the exhibition of his life and times.
Sir Michael Caine has been given the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his film career.
The veteran actor, famous for his trademark Cockney accent, turns 80 on March 14 and has been acting in films since the 1950s. Depending on how old you are you may remember him in The Italian Job (original version), Alfie and Zulu, a younger generation will recognise him from Batman series of films and Inception. At the last count he has made 115 films up to an including 2013!
The Freedom of the City of London dates back to 1237. It originally referred to someone who had been given the right to trade or carry out their craft in London's Square Mile after an apprenticeship of seven years. However, it is now largely a symbolic gesture and anyone can be nominated, however I am sure we all agree Sir Michael has definitely served his ‘apprenticeship’ to acting and film.
The Museum of London exhibition runs from March 8 to July 14 and entry is free.
View here, Sir Michael swearing his oath to the City and the Queen.
As some of you already know MissB became a Freeman of the City on 5th March, her ceremony taking place in the presence of the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court at the Guildhall.
To read about the Freedom in more depth please check out the section 'Freedom of the City'
A version of this article appeared first in The Londoneer blog.