Britain's Queen Elizabeth II awarded President Shimon Peres honorary knighthood on Thursday in an official ceremony in Buckingham Palace in London.

Peres met the queen at the ceremony after which the two held a private meeting, where they reportedly discussed the Middle East in general, and Iran's nuclear program and abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit in particular.

Peres will not be able to use the title "sir," as he is not a British national.

Peres also met with Prince Charles on Thursday, and he asked for his help in securing access for the International Red Cross to kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip for over two years.

The International Red Cross has not visited Gilad Shalit, and have not been allowed to make an assessment of his condition.

The president didn't come to Buckingham Palace empty-handed. He presented the Queen with a letter written by her father, the late King George the VI, in which he recognizes the independence of the State of Israel.

Peres will later meet with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who returned Wednesday from a visit to Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Peres is also due to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who will host a dinner in his honor.

The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended Peres be awarded knighthood despite the queen's reluctance to grant such titles to foreign citizens.

Recent reports say Prince Charles refused to visit Israel because of the political situation in the region, leading to speculation that officials intend to knight Peres to soothe tensions.

Peres joins a long and distinguished list of international philanthropists and social figures given the title over the last few years, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, U2 singer Bono, former French president Francois Mitterrand, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.