The entertainer and civil rights activist was feted on Monday (07Nov16), alongside author Hilary Mantel, columnist/speechwriter Peggy Noonan, novelist Colm Toibin and author/translator Javier Marias. The honour is given to "exceptional men and women" in the arts and culture, according to Billboard.com.

"I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about this," Harry said. "I was trying to think of what I was going to say in my speech and was happy to hear that I didn't have to say anything."

Authors and writers including Tom Wolfe, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie and Henry Louis Gates were also in attendance.