Footballing legend Pele and Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger are the latest sporting stars to be awarded an honorary degree.

The pair were honoured by Edinburgh University at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on Thursday, a week after Grainger's success on the water at the London 2012 Games.

Pele's degree celebrated his "significant contribution to humanitarian and environmental causes", as well as his sporting achievements.

The footballer helped the Brazil football team win the World Cup three times, as well as being named FIFA's joint player of the centrury and the International Olympic Committee's athlete of the century. Since his retirement from the sport, he has been Brazil's Extraordinary Minister for Sport and a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment.

Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, the Russell Group university's principal, said: "I am delighted to make this award to one of the foremost sporting figures of our ages, who is the epitome of sporting brilliance. He has also devote time and energy to countless charitable causes throughout the world, and we honour him for his outstanding contribution."

The event was held to celebrate the achievement of the university's alumni - which include Grainger, Sir Chris Hoy and swimmer Michael Jamieson.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Matthew Lewis

    Aka Neville Longbottom, flies around with glee after getting his degree from Leeds Met

  • Fabrice Muamba

    Awarded an honorary doctorate from Bolton University and puts his new skills to use straight away

  • Susan Boyle

    But always known as Subo, gets an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University, where she studied caring

  • Aung San Suu Kyi

    Now that's one woman who <em>does</em> deserve one

  • Kylie Minogue

    The singer at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, Essex

  • Sir Alex Ferguson

    Fergie gets his robes in a twist at Stirling University

  • Jessica Ennis

    Ennis after being awarded an honorary degree from Sheffield University in her home city Sheffield

  • Kim Cattrall

    The Sex and the City siren picked one up from John Moores University in Liverpool