NEUILLY-SUR-SEINE, France — Liliane Bettencourt, the sole child of L’Oréal’s founder Eugène Schueller, was laid to rest during a Catholic mass held Tuesday at the Église Saint-Pierre in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.
As reported, the 94-year-old died during the night of Sept. 20 at her home.
Testament to Bettencourt’s longstanding influence, political figures present included a former president of France, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and a former prime minister of the country, Édouard Balladur. Also attending were two previous cultural ministers, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and Catherine Pégard, who presides over the Château de Versailles.
Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal’s chairman and chief executive officer, and his predecessor, Lindsay Owen-Jones, were present, along with members of the group’s executive committee.
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestlé’s chairman emeritus, was also in attendance, as were representatives of the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, which Bettencourt founded with her husband André Bettencourt 30 years ago; members of the Collège de France, where the couple had created a chair in technological innovation, and household employees past and present.
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Mourners began filing into the church more than an hour before the 3:30 p.m. ceremony was set to start. Betty Catroux; Maryvonne Pinault; former L’Oréal executives Gilles Weil and Patrick Rabin; Laurent Attal, the company’s vice president of research and innovation; Stephan Bezy, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s international general manager, and Sophie Gasperment, group general manager, financial communication and strategic prospective, were among those seen entering.
Bettencourt’s grandsons, Jean-Victor and Nicolas — who arrived with their parents Françoise Bettencourt Meyers and Jean-Pierre Meyers, lit the candles at the start of the solemn ceremony, much of which was in Latin. There was a musical accompaniment by the Gregorian Choir of Paris.
“Liliane Bettencourt’s history showed her exceptional qualities, thanks to her personality and the circumstances of her life,” said Father Denis Branchu in his eulogy.
“She inherited her sense of excellence and personal discipline from her father, Eugène Schueller,” he continued. “She also inherited his curiosity of spirit, a desire to understand, for discovery.”
With her husband, “their luminous presence at the heart of political, economic, cultural and scientific life in France for so many years can only be explained through their common attentiveness to humanity, their capacity for listening and their consideration for every individual,” the clergyman continued.
“Thanks to their trust, their different way of thinking, outside the box, they helped to contribute to L’Oréal’s success, attentive to its employees and the success of this company that is a pride for our country,” he said.
The service was to be followed by a private family burial.