Pavarotti has been active in fundraising and other work for the International Red Cross for over a decade.
The award was given by the Corporation of London, which governs the city's financial and historic districts. The Red Cross, along with Gavyn Arthur, former Lord Mayor of London, nominated Pavarotti for the award.
The honor, which is one of London's oldest and is largely symbolic, is a privilege that dates back to medieval times and allows its recipients to engage in trade within the city's commercial center. It formerly conferred the right to drive sheep over London Bridge and to be hanged, should the recipient be condemned, with a silken cord.