Sir Michael Caine thanks France for the wrong award
London: Sir Michael Caine recently became a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.
But he mistakenly thought he had received the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award, and thanked the French for the same.
The ceremony took place in the Palais Royal, next door to the Louvre in Paris, which the legendary actor attended with his Indian-born wife Shakira, reports the Daily Mail.
In his acceptance speech the 77-year-old actor referred to former James Bond star Sean Connery and the late Hollywood great Gregory Peck.
They had both received the Legion of Honour, France’s highest civilian award, because, Caine suggested, they had French wives - leaving him wondering why he had just got one.
As the medal was hung around his neck by French culture minister Frederic Mitterand, the actor said: “I’d always thought you had to have a French wife to get the Legion d’Honneur, but it turns out you don’t.”
Later he said: ‘Someone told me it was the Legion of Honour’.
In fact, Caine became a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters - a far less prestigious award for those who have “contributed to the enrichment of French cultural heritage”.
Nevertheless, Sir Michael still made a moving speech in which he praised France, saying: “I’ve always loved this country, the food, the people.
Displaying an impressive command of the French language, he said: “I didn’t know whether the French loved me and thought maybe it was a one-way affair. But now I have this award, I know they love me.”