Elton John awarded France's highest honour

John was recognised with the Legion of Honour on Saturday, and used the occasion to raise awareness of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS

French President Emmanuel Macron and British singer-songwriter Sir Elton John arrive to speak to a crowd in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace in Paris. AFP .
French President Emmanuel Macron and British singer-songwriter Sir Elton John arrive to speak to a crowd in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace in Paris. AFP .

It's been a big year for Sir Elton John.

First there was awards season to contend with. Then came all that last-minute prep for that little old movie that was being released – you know, the one that charted the course of his career and life. Then, that movie, Rocketman was released at the Cannes Film Festival. It went on to take movie theatres across the world by storm, and welcomed critical acclaim. And now, the British singing legend has received France's highest award: the Legion of Honour.

And it's only June.

John was clearly wrapt with the accolade, greeting crowds at the Elysee Palace on Saturday while clasping French President Emmanuel Macron's hand, the new honour pinned to the front of his blue suit. That suit was a statement in itself, as when he turned to retreat back inside the Elysee Palace, the words "Bennie and the Jets", a nod to his 1973 hit, were adorned in gold on his back.

John wore a shirt with "Benny and the Jets" adorned on the back, a shout-out to one of his greatest hits. Reuters.
John wore a shirt with "Benny and the Jets" adorned on the back, a shout-out to one of his greatest hits. Reuters.

The singer spoke alongside Macros before thousands of people packed into the presidential palace courtyard for an event of the annual Fete de la Musique.

John had earlier been awarded the Legion of Honour in a private ceremony, alongside his family and an entourage of around 20 people.

Macron said in a statement that John was "an icon that knew how to set an example".

"To receive this decoration the day of the Fete de la Musique makes it even more special," John told crowds in the palace courtyard, the Associated Press said.

Macron used the occasion and media spotlight to call on people around the world to donate to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, ahead of an October summit in Lyon, France.

He said that 27 million people have been treated and saved through the fund, which raised about 13 billion euros in 2016.

John echoed his call.

"Success is essential," he said, according to The Associated Press, adding, "It is of great importance to me."

John has his own AIDS foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

John performed in Paris on Thursday night in what is being widely billed as his farewell tour.

Published: June 22, 2019 03:35 PM

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