Entertainment & Arts

Aretha Franklin gets honorary Harvard degree

Aretha Franklin at Harvard Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Aretha Franklin received an honorary doctor of arts degree

Soul legend Aretha Franklin has received an honorary degree from Harvard University.

The 72-year-old diva gave a rousing rendition of the US national anthem before receiving the honour at the university's annual commencement ceremony on Thursday.

University Provost Alan M Garber introduced her as "her regal highness, the Queen of Soul".

Franklin's classic hits include Respect, Chain Of Fools and Think.

She has won 18 Grammy Awards and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987.

She has performed at three presidential inaugurations, sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968 and has been presented with the nation's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

She became an honorary doctor of arts at the Harvard ceremony, which came a year after she was forced to cancel a string of concerts due to ill health.

Other notable recipients of honorary Harvard degrees included former US President George Bush Sr and ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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