FEI president Princess Haya will be made an Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest distinction and one of the best known in the world.
She will receive the insignia from Laurent Fabius, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at a special ceremony on Saturday in Caen, main host city of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The National Order of the Legion of Honour, often referred to as the Legion of Honour (La Légion d’honneur), is awarded on behalf of the French head of state in recognition of eminent public services.
Created by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802, the Legion of Honour is the first modern order awarded on personal merit alone. Unlike the traditional military or chivalry orders, the Legion was from the onset open to men – and since 1851 to women – from all ranks and professions without distinction of birth, fortune, or social standing.
The Legion was a secular institution from the very beginning, whereas all previous long-established orders in France, and more generally in Europe, were crosses or shared a clear Christian background.
The vast majority of recipients of the Legion of Honour are French nationals. However, foreign nationals who have served France and the ideals it upholds may also receive the distinction.
The Legion of Honour cannot be requested. The recipients are selected by the members of the French government who work in cooperation with the members of parliament, mayors, representatives of various associations, and presidents of professional and sports federations to identify the most deserving individuals.