KNIGHT RIDER: The Prince of Wales decorated Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, as a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The honorary award was presented last week to Arnault, with his family looking on, during a ceremony at Clarence House, the official London residence of Prince Charles, according to a spokesman for LVMH. Characterizing it as a private event, he said no photos or further details were available.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office informed Arnault last October that he would be recognized by the British monarchy. It was a balm for the luxury titan, who had been criticized in France for his quest for Belgian citizenship, citing numerous personal and business ties to the country. Arnault has said he “is and will remain” a fiscal resident of France.
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This story first appeared in the April 1, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
LVMH has many ties to the U.K. It owns the Scottish whiskey brand Glenmorangie and British shirtmaker Thomas Pink, and its De Beers joint venture is based in London. The French luxury group operates about 100 stores in the U.K., and employs some 3,000 people.
Bill Gates, Placido Domingo, Bob Hope, Rudy Giuliani and Steven Spielberg are among other foreign nationals who have received the honorary distinction. Arnault will be entitled to put the initials KBE after his name, but not to be called Sir.