06 Sep 2014

France Grants HRH Princess Haya the National Order of the Legion of Honor

FEI President HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday was made Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest distinction. Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, presented HRH Princess Haya with the Legion of Honour insignia in the Prefecture of Caen (FRA), the main host city of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 inthe presence of H.H Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President and President of the UAE Equestrian Federation; H.E Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, Chargé d'affaires of UAE in France and a group of prominent French and international officials, as well as members of the FEI.

Addressing international media and over 100 guests at the special ceremony in the magnificent setting of the Gold Salon (Salon doré), he cited HRH Princess Haya’s career as an Olympic athlete, her contribution to equestrian sport as FEI President and her success in bringing the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 to Normandy. He also charted HRH Princess Haya’s extensive and well-documented humanitarian efforts in some of the harshest parts of the world. “You are a remarkable person,” Laurent Fabius said. “Due to the inspiration you have given to many people over the years, through your sporting and humanitarian efforts, France is extremely happy to pronounce you Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour.” “I accept this honour on behalf of all of my colleagues at the Fédération Equestre Internationale and everyone who contributed to the success of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, including the 3,000 French volunteers and the wonderful people of this region, who welcomed the equestrian world to their home,”

HRH Princess Haya said in her acceptance speech. In her speech, HRH Princess Haya stressed that the bulk of her achievements were inspired by the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His commitment to support humanitarian work, and his ongoing quest to help all who are in need wherever they are. “I accept this honour on behalf of the dedicated humanitarian aid workers that I encounter in my travels as a UN Messenger of Peace - the selfless healthcare workers from Médecins Sans Frontières, the humanitarians from the World Food Programme, and so many other committed people who serve those in need long after I have returned to the comforts of my home. I accept this honour knowing that I have done so little to earn it, but inspired to do more in my limited capacity to advocate for a more equitable, more compassionate and a more peaceful future. I am deeply grateful,” she concluded.

Since its creation in 1802 by then-First Consul and later Emperor of the French Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honour has been awarded to historic personalities such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34thPresident of the United States; Queen Elizabeth II; former Polish President Lech Wałęsa; and Akihito, the reigning Emperor of Japan. Former FEI Presidents HRH Prince Philip and HRH Prince Bernhard both held the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.