In a Tuesday ceremony at the British Embassy, Lugar, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was “deeply honored” that Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the rank upon him.

“I have focused my service on solving our most serious challenges in a spirit of cooperation between our countries, our allies, and all people of good will. I take this appointment as encouragement to continue these endeavors,” the 81-year-old former lawmaker said.

The 36-year senator received the honor in recognition of his leadership on foreign affairs and his efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

British Ambassador Peter Westmacott said while presenting the award that Lugar’s association with the United Kingdom began nearly 60 years ago as a Rhodes Scholar in England: “Since that time he has been a leading proponent of the essential alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”