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Here comes the knight! Charles makes Van Morrison a sir at Buckingham Palace

Sir Van Morrison was quizzed over his new material as he received his knighthood from Prince Charles. Credit: PA Wire

Sir Van Morrison described himself as just a "blue-eyed soul singer" from Belfast as he was knighted for a lifetime of performing.

The prolific recording artist is best known for his songs Baby, Please Don't Go, Here Comes The Night and Gloria with the band Them, solo hits like Brown Eyed Girl, Tupelo Honey and Have I Told You Lately, and critically acclaimed albums like Astral Weeks and Moondance.

But Prince Charles was keener to discuss the 70-year-old star's new material as he honoured him at Buckingham Palace's ballroom.

The knighting by royalty meant fans got a rare glimpse of their idol without his hat on. Credit: PA Wire

Sir Van said: "He was just saying, was I still writing? And he said: 'You're not going to retire any time soon?' And I said: 'No, I'm not, I'm going to keep it going while I can'."

Born George Ivan Morrison, the son of a shipyard worker was awarded his knighthood for services to the music industry and tourism in his native Northern Ireland.

Sir Van Morrison was joined for the ceremony by his singer-daughter, Shana Morrison. Credit: PA Wire

Afterwards he said about becoming a Sir: "It's amazing, it's very exhilarating, the whole thing.

"For 53 years I've been in the business - that's not bad for a blue-eyed soul singer from east Belfast."

Sir Van absorbed his father's love of music with the influence of acts such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters and Mahalia Jackson. Credit: PA Wire

Sir Van said he still remained committed to performing for an audience.

I enjoy that the most - playing a small club - that's really what I do. The bigger places you have to do for financial survival reasons, let me put it that way, but the bigger places enable me to play small clubs occasionally.

Sales of CDs and stuff like that are very unreliable, it has really gone down a lot, I'm lucky I can still do live gigs and still pull crowds and be able to do that.

All these years of work have paid off and I'm still able to do that now.

– Sir Van Morrison

Asked if fans could still call him Van The Man now that he has a knighthood, the singer laughed and said "Well, take your pick".