Paul McCartney is awarded French Legion of Honour

11.30am, Saturday 8 September 2012 (1 year ago)

Sir Paul McCartney has been given France’s highest public award, the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honour), for services to music.

The musician was given the honour by French president François Hollande in a ceremony at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

It is such an honour to be awarded this.
Sir Paul McCartney

President Hollande praised the 70-year-old’s contribution to the arts and joked that he preferred the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, and that he had preferred McCartney over John Lennon when he was younger.

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, and symbolised by a red lapel thread, the Légion d’honneur is normally given to French nationals. It has three grades: Chevalier, Officer and Commander. It carries social status but no financial reward, and recipients have to buy their own medal from a licensed jeweller.

The award has previously been given to the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, actors Sir Laurence Olivier, Kirk Douglas, Marlene Dietrich and Clint Eastwood, singers Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion and Liza Minnelli, musicians Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, and US president Dwight D Eisenhower.

Afterwards McCartney took the train to London to take part in an Africa Express show with musicians including Damon Albarn.

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