Veteran opera star Placido Domingo has been awarded the freedom of the City of London in honour of his contribution to the U.K. capital. The Spanish tenor, who spent several years living in the Chelsea area of London, was honoured with the special accolade at the Lord Mayor's official residence, Mansion House, on Tuesday (16Apr13). Speaking of the award, he says, "I am blessed to have amassed and nurtured an enduring relationship with London. "I am proud of having once called Chelsea a home, and having embedded so much of my history here. I am now filled with emotion and gratitude." Since beginning his career in 1959, the 72 year old has appeared at London's famed Royal Opera House 200 times. The Freedom of the city has been handed out to people of great importance to London since 1237. Domingo joins the impressive ranks of Dame Judi Dench, Diana, Princess of Wales, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, Sir Michael Caine and Damian Lewis, who are all past recipients of the honour.