France awards Saudi crown prince nation’s highest honor

Published March 7th, 2016 - 09:56 GMT
The Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte, and is the highest decoration given in France. (AFP/File)
The Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte, and is the highest decoration given in France. (AFP/File)

In 1802, legendary and controversial French leader Napoleon Bonaparte established the Legion of Honor, a decoration considered the highest national order in the country. However the prestige attached to the award is now being questioned after France “quietly” gave one to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

During a visit to France last week, crown prince Mohammed bin Naif was awarded the Legion of Honor by president Francois Hollande. Of course, this news sparked intense criticism, especially as France was one of the most vocal nations condemning Saudi Arabia’s mass execution of 47 people in January.

The crown prince visited the Elysee Palace on Friday, where he was awarded the merit. This was the same day that Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel met to discuss the refugee crisis.

The award was reportedly given to the prince for his work in combatting extremism, a fact which Saudi media outlets boasted. French media, on the other hand, reported that the whole ceremony had been done very discreetly, and that Hollande’s entourage only confirmed it on Sunday.

Twitter users expressed their shock at the award, with some expressing surprise that the news was not satirical.


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