The accolade is offered to key people of all nationality and backgrounds who are considered to have provided exceptional service to the capital, with previous recipients including Admiral of the Fleet Rt Hon Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Diana, Princess of Wales, King Kigeli V of Rwanda, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Mandela, Luciano Pavarotti, Morgan Freeman and J. K. Rowling.
Ronnie, needless to say, was delighted with the award.
“My Lord Mayor, Lord Chamberlain, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am humbled and honoured to receive the Freedom of the City of London,” says Wood. “As a child, I saw the city from the canals and over the years I’ve seen it from many different perspectives.
“Despite my career in music and art taking me all over the world, I am never happier than when coming home to this great city where I was born. It is a lovely surprise to be recognised with this award and it has made me, Sally, and my twin girls Alice and Gracie very proud.
“I very much hope to come and meet you in person at the Guildhall when circumstances allow.”
Freedom of the City of London is often thought to bestow certain privileges on the recipient, but these honours are largely historical (the right to drive cattle over London Bridge) or apocryphal (the right to a silken rope if hanged, and the right to carry an unsheathed sword in public).
Ronnie will, however, receive a nice certificate.