Lord Patten becomes Commandeur in Ordre de la Légion d’honneur
Ambassador Bermann decorates the last British Governor of Hong Kong and current Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten, in the presence of former Prime Minister Sir John Major
3 November 2016
Lord Patten has become a Commandeur in the Ordre de la Légion d’honneur, France’s highest national honour.
Elected in 1979 as a Conservative MP, Lord Patten served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher before becoming Chairman of the party under John Major, who was among guests at the reception in Kensington Palace Gardens.
In 1992, Lord Patten became the 28th and last British Governor of Hong Kong until its transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997. On that important historical moment, the Ambassador said: “I remember thinking at the time: what a great nation. There was greatness in the way you oversaw this stage in your country’s history.”
As Commissioner for External Relations, Lord Patten implemented fundamental reform of the EU’s development aid, and developed a close affinity with France.
The Ambassador said: “France is delighted to count you as a friend who has its best interests at heart and understands our strong sense of cultural patriotism.”
After becoming a lifelong peer in 1995, Lord Patten lent his services to diplomacy in Northern Ireland; to broadcasting as Chair of the BBC Trust; and to education, serving as Chancellor first of Newcastle University and currently Oxford University, a role he has held since 2003.
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Ed Llewellyn, the new British Ambassador in Paris succeeding Sir Julian King, and the former British Ambassador to Paris, Sir Peter Ricketts.
For more pictures from the event, click the image below: